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Football: Last Second Field Goal Sinks Lakewood In Rivalry Game

The562’s coverage of football in 2023-24 is sponsored in part by the MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center Foundation and Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Foundation

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

It was classic high school rivalry football at Lakewood on Friday night when the Lancers hosted Mayfair with the old Milk Bucket on the line.

The two defenses traded big plays and big stops all night until a last-second field goal lifted the Monsoons to a 10-7 win that keeps the Milk Bucket at Mayfair for the sixth consecutive year.

Lakewood (1-3) has lost its three games by a combined 15 points.

“We’re definitely playing ourselves into these close games by not executing and going backwards on penalties,” Lakewood coach Justin Utupo said. “We have a lot of youth on this team, and we’ve got to quickly grow up and learn from this and move forward.”

Running back Nytrell Miller had the best stat line of the night for Lakewood with 121 yards on 15 carries. However, quarterbacks Kade Casillas and Valentino Saenz-Castruita combined to go 4-for-12 passing with one touchdown pass from Casillas to JT Dacoud late in the third quarter.

“This summer we worked together a lot, so there’s a lot of trust after that time together,” Dacoud said of he and Casillas. “He trusts me that when he throws it up there I’m going to go get it.”

That 37-yard score tied the game 7-7 and it stayed that way until the fourth quarter when Lakewood tried to convert on fourth down twice in its own territory. The Lancers failed to earn the line to gain, and Mayfair took advantage of the second try with about three minutes left on the clock.

“We wanted to be aggressive there. We liked what we saw, we just didn’t execute,” Utupo said.

The Monsoons ran the ball down into the Lakewood red zone, and set up kicker Jonathan Arreola for a game-winning 25-yard field goal as time expired.

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Lakewood was fantastic on defense yet again as senior linebacker Tyree McCowen had double digit tackles one of five sacks for the Lancers. Sophomore linebacker Kaelib Verduzco had a great night with an interception and a fumble recovery. Lakewood has forced 10 turnovers already this season.

“Our defense played their asses off and kept us in the ball game,” Utupo said. “We’re going to have to lean on them for the rest of this year… (McCowen) is the leader of our defense and someone our young defenders will continue to lean on. He brings the juice that we need. We just need more from all 11 players on the field.”

Lakewood and Mayfair High Schools were originally separated by a large dairy farm, and the football teams have played for a small milk bucket trophy since 1962. Lakewood has won 16 of the 26 Milk Bucket games. 

Lakewood starts its Moore League scheduled next week against Long Beach Poly.

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JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.