DEDHAM — Following a tough loss to BB&N last week, and with a showdown at undefeated Noble & Greenough staring it in the face on Saturday, Lawrence Academy could have floundered.
Instead the Spartans, who got three touchdown passes from senior Kyle Howes, used the adversity as the motivation for a 28-0 thumping of the Bulldogs (4-1).
“It was a good win,” said Lawrence Academy coach Paul Zukauskas. “The kids really have been persevering. We were 1-3 going into the game [following last week’s 14-13 loss] and playing a 4-0 team; I’m really proud of how the kids came and prepared.
“Football is all about life lessons, and perseverance is the biggest life lesson you can learn from football. Really proud of the LA football team today.”
That perseverance showed early for the Spartans. On the opening kickoff, Nobles recovered a pooch kick at the LA 22-yard line. But on the third play of the drive, the Bulldogs fumbled at the 2, handing the ball to Lawrence Academy.
The Spartans took advantage, driving 98 yards on 10 plays. After a holding call pushed LA back to the Nobles 48, Howes (14 of 23, 213 yards) unleashed a deep pass over the middle for junior Chris Garrison.
Garrison (11 receptions, 166 yards) hauled it in between two Bulldog defenders and ran for a touchdown.
With two minutes remaining in the first half, Howes and Garrison connected for their second touchdown to put the Spartans up, 14-0, at the break. This time, Howes fired to a wide-open Garrison along the right sideline, and he turned upfield and went 47 yards for the score.
“Kyle and Chris — the leadership on this team was ready to show what they were about,” Zukauskas said. “I think we showed them today.”
The third piece of the Spartans’ offensive puzzle was junior running back Nicholas Schutz, who had 184 yards on 21 carries. Just under a minute into the second half, Schutz stiff-armed a defender in the backfield and darted to the left sideline, where he bolted 67 yards to extend LA’s lead.
Nobles went for it on fourth and 7 at the Spartans’ 12 on the ensuing drive, but fell short, turning ball over on downs.
The Spartans then traveled 92 yards to take a 28-0 advantage.
The drive, highlighted by a 63-yard run by junior Austin Luckey, ended when Howes delivered a 17-yard touchdown pass to junior Timothy Preston.
“We had a tough loss last week, we worked real hard and didn’t end up on top,” said Schutz. “This week our hard work paid off and I think it’s going to be a big momentum-changer for us.”