The No. 6 seed Lakewood football team couldn’t pull off an upset two weeks in a row in the NJSIAA Central Group II playoffs.
The Piners were on the road for the second straight Friday but this time ran into powerful No. 2 seed Weequahic and lost 34-0 in the CJ II semifinals.
“They got the momentum on us, unfortunately we couldn’t move the ball and they have a good defense,” Lakewood coach L.J. Clark said. “The same plays we called last week are the same plays we called this week, but with a different outcome. They made plays and we didn’t make plays.”
And speaking of a playmaker, Weequahic junior Alkadair Ports was every bit of that on Friday night, scoring four touchdowns (three rushing, one interception) and single-handedly bouncing Lakewood (6-4) out of the playoffs.
“It’s tough when your defense is on the field a lot and not getting any momentum with your offense,” Clark said. “I thought the defense played great. I thought we had a great defensive plan. Offensively, we struggled and the scoreboard reflected it.”
It was 6-0 after the first quarter when Ports scored on a 35-yard run with 9:14 left in the first quarter. Lakewood almost held Weequahic to one score at halftime, but Ports scored on a 5-yard run with two seconds left in the second quarter and then caught the conversion pass from Kedar Clarke for a 14-0 lead at halftime.
From there Weequahic (10-0) only added to its lead.
“That’s not what we do. We are not a passing team, we are a power-running team,” Clark said. “You know what, we line up and we try to push people around. And tonight we couldn’t get that done.”
Ports got his third score on a 47-yard interception return with 3:29 left in the third quarter when he picked off a Chapelle Cook pass on second-and-10 at the Lakewood 32-yard line.
“The kid jumped the route and picked it off and made a great play on the ball,” Clark said. “That’s another reason why we didn’t want to pass it because they have good athletes back there.”
In the fourth quarter, Weequahic added a Barron Wright 43-yard touchdown run with 11:05 left and the kick failed on that score. Weequahic also had a Ports 27-yard touchdown run with 5:38 left. On that score, Wright ran in the conversion to complete the shutout.
“We’ll be back next year in the playoffs because this was a good learning lesson. Life is a tough teacher, but it is the best teacher,” Clark said. “Last year, we made it to the first round of the playoffs. This year, we made it to the second round. So, we have some room for improvement.”
Lakewood made the NJSIAA football playoffs for consecutive years for the first time in school history this season. Last week when the Piners defeated Delran, 20-12, they won their first playoff game since 1986.