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Football Lakewood Wilson

PREVIEW: Lakewood vs. Wilson, Football

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.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.

Playoff hopes hang in the balance tonight as Lakewood hosts Wilson in Moore League football action. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Lakewood (3-5, 2-2) is coming off a bye week and can take a stranglehold on third place in league with a win, while Wilson (3-5, 2-3) needs a victory in its league finale to keep its postseason hopes alive.

“We’re feeling re-energized coming off of a much needed bye week.” Lakewood coach Justin Utupo said. “(Wilson coach Scott Meyer) is doing a great job at Wilson. They have two great running backs, so our Red Swarm defense is up for the challenge.”

Wilson running backs Laighton Scott V and Christian Chapman are both averaging over 100 yards rushing per game while scoring a combined 17 touchdowns. The two sharing carries is new for the Bruins after Scott V sat out because of transferring and Chapman sat out because of injury. Scott V is averaging 8.6 yards per carry in six games, and Chapman is averaging 9.6 yards per carry in five games, according to MaxPreps.

The Bruins are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Jordan at home last week when a spirited comeback attempt fell short. Wilson is trying to make its first playoff appearance since 2019.

Lakewood has had a lot of time to stew about its lopsided loss to rival Millikan two weeks ago. Utupo and his team feel like a more specific offensive game plan would’ve helped them in that game, and will be key to success this week.

“Offensively we’re still trying to find our identity and this week we focused on fine tuning the things that have worked best for us all season,” said Utupo, who started coordinating the offense a few weeks ago.

Sophomore quarterback Kade Casillas is averaging 186.6 yards passing per game with a 106.1 quarterback rating, according to MaxPreps. JT Dacoud has been his go-to target with 40 receptions, 617 yards and seven of Casillas’ 13 touchdown passes.

This game also has a special wrinkle because Meyer teaches at Lakewood.

“I have a few of the current Lakewood players in my classes this year, and had several last year that are still on the team,” Meyer said. “It is always a strange week in that sense, but they are great kids and good players so it will be a lot of fun.”

Last year, Lakewood beat Wilson 41-0 and the Bruins haven’t beaten the Lancers during a full season since 2019.

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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.