Boys Football Defeats Pingry in Season Opener

This past Saturday, the Lawrenceville Boys Varsity Football team began its heavily anticipated regular season facing off against the Pingry School.

This past Saturday, the Lawrenceville Boys Varsity Football team began its heavily anticipated regular season facing off against the Pingry School. With Student Council’s House pride competition, students repping House colors flooded the stand to cheer on Big Red Football.

Despite receiving the ball off the opening kick-off, Pingry was thwarted by Lawrenceville’s defense and forced to punt the football to Lawrenceville. On offense, the team utilized a strong running game and charged confidently up the field. Big Red ended the first drive in a weaving and rushing touchdown from Jacob Fenton ’20. Lawrenceville opted to succeed the touchdown with a two-point conversion in which the team failed to capitalize, and the first quarter ended with a 6-0 lead.

In an attempt to recover from the early deficit, Pingry completed two key passing plays that progressed it up the field. However, a strong tackle by Brandon Kim ’21 on a Pingry receiver forced a fumble which allowed Lawrenceville’s Josh Winowich ’20 to reclaim possession and regain its offensive momentum. Only three plays after the offensive restart, quarterback Drew Friedman ’21 lofted a 45-yard ball to co-captain Jake Simpson ’20 who anticipated the flight of ball, bagging Lawrenceville’s second touchdown in fewer than five minutes of play. After converting the extra point, Lawrenceville lead 13-0.

With less than seven minutes left in the second quarter, Pingry’s luck changed as it recovered a punt to Lawrenceville and then proceeded to score a touchdown. When Lawrenceville failed to respond with an effective offensive drive, Pingry capitalized and scored another touchdown on a hook and ladder play in which the designated receiver laterals to a teammate in order to confuse the defense. This play put Pingry in the lead 14-13 for the first time. Building off its momentum, Pingry intercepted an attempted deep ball from Friedman to Simpson with two minutes to go in the first half.

In the third quarter, Lawrenceville regained momentum and started with a strong offensive drive that was fueled by a confident offensive line. Midway through the third quarter, Lawrenceville reclaimed a slim 19-14 lead when Friedman forced his way into the endzone from the one-yard line. Lawrenceville followed the play with another failed attempt at a two-point conversion. On its next drive, Lawrenceville gave up a precarious fumble, but a strong defensive effort provided Lawrenceville with the final offensive opportunity of the third quarter. With just 28 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Fenton scored another touchdown followed by a successful extra point, bringing Lawrenceville to a comfortable 26-14 lead over Pingry.

In the final quarter, Lawrenceville offense transitioned from faster, more aggressive play-calling to more conservative rushing plays in order to maximize its time with the ball and maintain its lead. This slower, time-conscious offense combined with more capable defensive work allowed Lawrenceville to keep Pingry scoreless in the fourth quarter which closed the game out with a final score of 26-14. Commenting on the team’s performance, Simpson said that while the win pleased the team, the players “are not happy with the way [they] played on Saturday.” Looking towards the game against Deerfield Academy this Saturday, Simpson said the team “[knows] the areas [they] need to improve in” and are focused on the task at hand.

Overall, the game provided positive signs for the season to come and highlighted a strong running game as well as the ability to manage a lead. Not only did Lawrenceville demonstrate some strategic prowess combined with the skill to make it function, but also an unquantifiable dynamic of its performance shined: the team’s resilience and composure when faced with yielding the lead.

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