An early third quarter surge lifted Midway’s varsity football team to a 32-26 win over visiting Sampson County rival Lakewood on Friday night.
“We outplayed them in the first half,” said Midway coach Kyle Stevens. “We just dropped the ball, tipped them an interception, kind of gifted them one at the end. Just missed plays on our part. But they came out (in the third) and that first series offensively was really good. We came out firing on all cylinders and really took control of the tempo for the most part.”
Senior Tripp Westbrook completed 10-of-19 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions, and ran for 12 yards and a touchdown on five carries , junior Cody Ammons ran for 140 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, and junior Ke’Mari McNeill had six receptions for 112 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Raiders (3-1).
“(Ammons) is a little muscle hamster,” Stevens said. “He’s all of five-foot-four, but muscled up, runs hard, runs right through people, runs right through contact. I love the way the kid plays.”
Andre Gregory had four receptions for 59 yards and a nine-yard run. Gehemiah Blue had an 18-yard run. Jacob Holland had a four-yard run.
Senior Shamell Little ran for 89 yards on 13 carries and junior Rylan Godbold completed 6-of-12 passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, and ran for seven yards and two touchdowns on three carries to lead the Leopards (3-1).
The teams traded scores in the first quarter, which ended with Midway holding a 16-13 lead.
Lakewood had the lone score in the second quarter on a one-yard Godbold run and led 19-16 at halftime.
Midway came out of halftime by scoring twice in a five-minute span. Ammons scored on the opening drive on a five-yard run and then ran for the two-point conversion. On the ensuing Lakewood drive, Jarrett Cooper and Thomas Perez forced a fumble, which Trent Hughes recovered for the Raiders. That led to Westbrook running for an 11-yard score, followed by Ammons running for two to give Midway a 32-19 lead.
Lakewood scored early in the fourth on a two-yard run, with Miguel Espinoza kicking the extra point.
On the ensuing drive, Midway moved the ball all the way down to the Lakewood eight-yard-line. The Raiders were unable to score, but the drive took nearly nine minutes off of the clock, leaving Lakewood with 2:15 left to drive the length of the field.
But on an attempt to convert a fourth down, Blue knocked down a Godbold pass, giving Midway the ball with just under a minute left and Westbrook kneeled twice to run out the clock.
“(The defense) bowed their neck up,” Stevens said. “They’ve been getting a lot of grief all year about the way we’ve played defensively early in the season. This game is by far the best game we’ve played defensively. The communication and everything is starting to get locked in as the season goes on.”
Midway travels to Goldsboro (0-4) on Friday.
“Just clean up our game,” Stevens said. “Penalties. Turnovers. The little things.”