At its best yet, Lakeview mangles Northwood-Lena in home opener

BREAKAWAY:  As coach Andy Boone (upstretched arms, background) celebrates, Lakeview’s Amarion Pierre dashes downfield Friday night. (Journal photo by KEVIN SHANNAHAN)

By MATT VINES, Journal Sports

CAMPTI – Riding high after their first win of the season, Lakeview coach Andy Boone was eager to see how his Gators would handle Homecoming distractions in the first home game of the season Friday.

The answer? No problem.

Lakeview controlled both lines of scrimmage and had just one turnover as the Gators smashed Northwood-Lena by a score of 58-12.

“We tackled better, and our defensive line was dominant,” Boone said of a Lakeview defense that allowed an average of 39 points in its first two games. “We didn’t have any issues with the center-quarterback exchange for the first time all season, and we had just one turnover.

“These kids blocked out all the distractions of Homecoming, and the fact that we had a huge crowd. The kids played their best game of the season so far.”

The Gators (2-1) chewed up chunks of yardage on the ground as they boasted a pair of 250-yard rushers against Northwood-Lena (0-3), who surrendered at least 30 points in losses to Ringgold and Elton.

Amarion Pierre (271 rushing yards, four touchdowns) and Kaleb Collins (260 rushing yards, three touchdowns) gobbled up yardage in a rushing attack that totaled 569 yards.

Perhaps most impressive is that Lakeview ran just 26 plays, which included 12 Collins carries and 11 for Pierre.

Lakeview jumped out to a 38-6 lead at halftime and let the good times roll in the second half.

Collins scored on a 74-yard gallop before Amania Green added an 11-yard touchdown run to lead 16-0 in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Pierre scored from 58 and 28 yards while Collins added a 48-yard touchdown run.

About the only thing that didn’t go Lakeview’s way is that the Gators didn’t recover an onside kick all night.

“We had really good kicks all night, but we just didn’t get any,” Boone said. “It happens that way sometimes.”

That fact makes Lakeview’s defensive performance all the more impressive given that Northwood-Lena started most possessions around midfield.

While Northwood-Lena experienced some success on the ground (29-167), the visitors couldn’t finish drives.

Turning back to Lakeview’s rushing attack, both Collins and Pierre have topped the 200-yard mark in each of the last two games.

Collins leads the ground game with 625 yards while Pierre has added 581 yards through three games.

The Gators will take their two-game winning streak back on the road to face LaSalle next Friday.

LaSalle has rolled through its first three opponents (all Class 1A schools) by a combined score of 123-20 (Tensas, Sicily Island and Merryville).