Football Jordan Lakewood

Football: Lakewood Beats Jordan In Key Playoff Matchup

The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored by J.P. Crawford, Class of 2013.

The562’s coverage of Jordan Athletics is sponsored by John Ross, Class of 2013.

Heading into Friday’s night showdown between Lakewood and Jordan, the talk was about how prolific the offenses had been a week prior. 

When the clock hit zero, the talk was about how the Lakewood defense was able to handle a powerful Jordan offense as the Lancers forced four turnovers to defeat the Panthers 31-18.

“I’m proud of the way we came out tonight,” Lakewood coach Justin Utupo said. “That was the best football game we’ve played since I got here. From the beginning of the first quarter – we always talk about starting the game fast and we did that. So, I’m proud of our guys.”

After winning the coin toss, Jordan elected to receive and let their offense look to get started early after an impressive outing last week. 

Rahkeen Moore and the Lakewood defensive front slowed the Panthers offense and Moore came up with an interception on a shovel pass on the fourth play of the opening drive. 

“The message was to shut them down early,” Moore said. “No big plays, I felt like we limited it.”

Jordan’s defense answered right back as Dylan Falefitu came up with a big stop for loss and the Panthers forced an early 3-and-out.

After forcing a turnover on downs, Lakewood got right back to work as Brayden Downen connected with Takim Raye-Brown for a 51-yard touchdown pass to put the Lancers up 7-0 with 4:53 left remaining in the quarter. 

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Downen finished the night with 196 yards passing and a touchdown, completing 11 of his 22 pass attempts. 

The Lancers defense continued to create turnovers and got the ball back after another interception. 

Zion Smith took over on the next drive as he had 23 yards rushing, that included a 12-yard touchdown run to put Lakewood up 14-0.

The Jordan offense answered right back as sophomore QB JJ Nielsen found Deontae Tucker for a 30-yard touchdown to cut Lakewood’s lead to 14-6.

On the next drive, Lakewood settled for a 26-yard field goal to go up 17-6 in the second quarter. 

Nielsen and the Panthers answered back again as he found Tucker again for an 18 yard gain. The Lancers did a great job not giving up a big play to Jordan Washington, but he did have a 12-yard run to put the Panthers inside the Lancers’ 40-yard-line.

Nielsen cut Lakewood’s lead to 17-12 with a rushing touchdown this time, scoring with 6:26 left in the second period. 

Lakewood had an answer for the Panthers as they marched 71 yards and Noah Mallon capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown to put the Lancers up 24-12 with less than two minutes remaining in the half. 

The Lancers defense came up big with time winding down and got another interception, one of their four interceptions on the night. 

"We didn't get guys in the right places and bad things happened," Jordan coach Jon Nielsen said. "It was on us, they won the game so credit to them, but they didn't stop us. We didn't execute in any phase of the game."

The Lancers went up 31-12 on the first possession of the second half and held on from there for the huge win. Lakewood just took a big step toward a playoff spot with this win, but they know it's far from guaranteed. After all, Lakewood beat Jordan last year but still missed the postseason due to an unlucky envelope draw.

Jordan Washington finished the game with 61 yards and Khaali Hicks had 73 yards in Jordan's rushing attack.

Lakewood will take on Millikan next week in a huge rivalry game for second place in the Moore League, while Jordan will host Compton in another key matchup. 

VIDEO: Lakewood vs. Jordan Football
PHOTOS: Lakewood vs. Jordan Football
Matt Simon
Matt Simon has been covering sports since 2013. After graduating from Long Beach State, he has covered sports for multiple publications throughout Southern California.