The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored by J.P. Crawford, Class of 2013.
Quarterback Brayden Downen and his senior teammates have won games before, but on Friday night things were different for the Lakewood football program.
The Lancers are playing their first games on campus since 2019, and they were able to do something they’ve never done— win a football game on their home field.
Lakewood (1-1) made history at the rededicated John Ford Stadium last night as it beat San Dimas 16-7 in a defensive slugfest.
“The atmosphere here is great,” Downen said of playing in front of his friends and family at home. “I feel it’s better than playing at LBCC. There it’s big stands and not a lot of people, but here it’s smaller and you can really pack people in and it feels good.”
The Lancers offense struggled early on and San Dimas scored its lone touchdown of the night on a punt return to take a 7-0 lead with 4:26 left in the first quarter.
On the ensuing drive, Lakewood stalled because of three penalties that pushed them out of the red zone. Andrew Heang drilled the 31-yard field goal to cut the Saints’ lead to 7-3 early in the second quarter.
The Lancers defense continued to frustrate the San Dimas offense as they held the Saints scoreless on all eight of their possessions.
Lakewood owed a lot of that to their defensive line that was flying around to stifle the Saints rush attack. The Lancers held San Dimas to 131 yards of total yards.
Downen got the Lancers on the board when he broke free and made five defenders miss as he scored on a 27-yard run to give Lakewood a 10-7 lead with three seconds remaining in the third.
“(He’s) our leader on offense, our team captain,” Lakewood coach Justin Utupo said. “Our team will go where Brayden goes, so people forget what Brayden can do with his feet. He can throw the ball very well, but he’s an excellent runner.”
Downen put the game out of reach when he connected with Cayden Clark for a 68-yard screen to give the Lancers a 16-7 lead. The senior signal caller finished 9-for-17 for 153 yards and a touchdown. He also had 56 yards rushing.
Lakewood running backs Kaleb Foster and Cayden Clark had a combined 18 carries for 116 yards.
On defense, Noah Mallon had two sacks and Anthony Winston had an interception for the Lancers.
Lakewood visits Laguna Hills next Friday.