WALTON — Twin Lakes’ losing streak came to an end Friday.
The Indians handled host Lewis Cass, 32-12, to end its three-game skid after starting the season 4-0. The Kings (2-7) lost their fourth consecutive contest heading into the Class 2A Section 34 opening round.
“We were just flat outplayed in the first half of the ballgame. Twin Lakes came out and played really, really good early,” Lewis Cass head coach Clayton Mannering said. “They are a well-coached team and are hitting their stride this year.
“I was disappointed in the way we came out. We came out with a little more fire in the second half, but it was a little too late.”
Twin Lakes (5-3) built a 17-0 halftime advantage with stingy defense and a solid running game.
“We knew we were going to get a tough game. Lewis Cass is a well-coached team,” Twin Lakes head coach Kevin Sayler said. “They have been playing better football at the end of the season and their defense did a really nice job against Hamilton Heights. We thought we were going to get a physical game and that’s what we got.”
Former Indians head coach Scott Mannering is an assistant coach for his son, which gave the game more importance for some of the players and coaches.
“It was more that coach Mannering was on the other sideline instead of a revenge game because we all have respect for coach Mannering,” Twin Lakes senior Jaylen Roush sad. “He is a great guy. We wanted to show him how much we have improved since last year. We weren’t terrible but we weren’t the best, so we wanted to show him how much we have improved.”
Roush noted running Mannering’s Wing-T offense for multiple years at Twin Lakes helped the defense on Friday.
“We definitely recognized the plays so that helped,” Roush said. “It helped for our linebackers knowing where the ball was going.”
Roush scored two first half touchdowns from 21 yards and 1 yard out. He finished with 15 carries for 79 yards and also caught three passes for 63 yards. Kahari Jackson caught a 36-yard touchdown.
“We executed well enough to get the victory and we had a few guys step up in some key spots,” Sayler said. “Brandon Franscoviak had a heck of a game on the defensive line. Jaylen had a great game running the football and Noah Johnson had a great game catching the ball.
“You want your older guys stepping up this time of the year and we had a few seniors step up and make some plays for us. I am very happy to see that.”
The Indians held the Kings to just 44 yards of offense in the first half before Tyson Johnson and Kian Meiester got Lewis Cass going. The duo found some running room by executing the jet sweep on the outside of the Indians’ defense.
“We didn’t make any big changes at halftime,” Clayton Mannering said. “We had our playmakers make plays in the second half. Johnson and Meister are two seniors that we had to rely on and they did a better job in the second half.”
Johnson scored on a 33-yard run o in the fourth quarter with 6 minutes, 22 seconds left to close the gap to 24-12 before Johnston sealed the game for the visiting team.
The senior caught a 25-yard touchdown on fourth-and-7 late with 3:49 left.
“He (Johnston) is a good player, and we were playing an undersized sophomore against him,” Clayton Mannering said. “They did a good job recognizing that and taking advantage of the match-up.”
Johnston took advantage of the size matchup.
“I knew the guy across from me was a lot smaller than me and I knew what I could do against him depending on where he lined up,” Johnston said. “I took advantage of my height and I saw the safety cheating over, so I read if the guy was giving me the short slant or the deep fade.”
Johnston finished with eight catches for 105 yards while signal-caller Lewis Dellinger finished 21-of-29 for 227 yards.
Lewis Cass’s Johnson also scored from 14 yards out in the third quarter.
Twin Lakes will play Hanover Central (7-2) next week in the first round of the sectional tournament while Lewis Cass will play LaVille (5-1).
“We wanted to have positive momentum going into the playoffs and we talked about all season that we wanted to play our best football at the end of the season,” Sayler said. “We got a little bit better in all aspects, especially in the run game because that was better than it has been the last couple of weeks.”