FELTON When Ben Moore got the ball on an option pitch late in the third quarter, his golden cleats left a vapor trail down the right sideline.
The senior turned on the afterburner and sprinted 57 yards for the decisive touchdown as Lake Forest earned an 18-13 home victory over Laurel on Friday night.
“I just kept my feet moving as fast as I could,” said Moore, who finished with five carries for 80 yards. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates blocking, making blocks upfield. I just ran as hard as I could.”
Every win for the Spartans (4-2, 3-0 Henlopen South) has come by five points or less. Third-ranked Lake Forest edged St. Mark’s 14-13 and Woodbridge 9-7, and last week kicker Austin Aguilar picked up his own blocked field goal on the last play of the game and ran it in to give the Spartans a 19-14 win over Delmar.
“Another close game,” Lake Forest coach Freddie Johnson said. “These guys have been in close games all year, and they’re finding ways to win. That’s a good thing, when you can find ways to win.”
Laurel (2-4 , 1-2) looked impressive on its first possession, moving 81 yards in 13 plays. Perez Nichols fired a 25-yard touchdown strike to receiver Howard Straughn for a 6-0 lead with 5:53 left in the first quarter.
The Spartans answered on their first drive, ripping off three big runs. Moore went for 19, fullback Amir White gained 20 and quarterback Noah Feague-Johnson covered the final 23 to tie it at 6.
White already had four carries for 29 yards when he left the game with a leg injury early in the second quarter. The Spartans got a huge lift from Elle Harden, who came off the bench to replace White and churned his way to 118 yards on 19 carries.
“He’s a sophomore, and he’s been itching, itching, itching [to play],” Johnson said of Harden. “Last week, after watching him at practice I told him, ‘I’m going to give you a chance to start running this ball some. You just need to be ready.”
Harden was more than ready, gaining 43 yards on his first carry to the Bulldogs 11. Feague-Johnson took it in on a 2-yard keeper two plays later to give the Spartans a 12-6 lead with 7:19 left in the first half.
It stayed that way until Laurel’s first drive of the second half. The Bulldogs went 78 yards in eight plays, with Shyheim Holden breaking two tackles on a 10-yard scoring run. The extra point by Arles Henriquez pushed Laurel ahead 13-12 with 3:14 remaining in the third quarter.
But Moore answered with his go-ahead run for the Spartans, and the defense made it stand up.
Moore stopped Nichols for a 3-yard gain on fourth-and-9 from the Spartans 13 midway through the fourth quarter. Then Lake Forest’s Dawaunta Parker snuffed another Bulldogs drive by recovering a fumble at the Spartans 39 with 3:08 to play.
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ