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Bruins ignite, blast Falcons

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By Robert Howey

A post-game fireworks show highlighted Lancaster High School’s military salute, but a late first-half Bruins’ points explosion sparked LHS to a 30-0 win over Nation Ford on Friday night at Memorial Stadium.LHS, clinging to a 3-0 lead, scored two touchdowns in a flash – 31 seconds to be exact – to take control on Bruins’ Senior Night.LHS senior running back Jamias Clark, who ran for 126 yards in 22 carries and scored twice, capped a 11-play, 69-yard drive with a seven-yard run to give the Bruins a 10-0 lead after senior place-kicker Anna Funderburk drilled the extra point with 2:21 to play in the first half.On the Falcons’ next possession, hard-charging LHS senior nose tackle Casey Truesdale broke through for a fumble recovery of a botched handoff at the NF nine. Two snaps later, LHS quarterback Kendrick Gladden powered in from a yard out for a 16-0 lead.“Quick scores change the game’s momentum,” LHS coach Bennie McMurray said. “We had an opportunity and took advantage.”Nation Ford coach Rusty Jester said the Bruins’ back-to-back scores were back-breakers.“Those two scores right before the half really hurt,” he said. “We just never could get anything going offensively.”The 5-1 Bruins added two second-half scores to seal the shutout victory.A blocked punt early in the second half put Nation Ford in good position to make it a game as the Falcons, behind the running of Tony Hall, drove to the Bruins’ two, but back-to-back Dawan Thompson sacks squashed the drive back to the LHS 22 and the Bruins took over.The Falcons had another threat going later in the quarter, but the Bruins’ Daniel Foster had another key sack of NF quarterback Joey White to thwart the threat.“Our defense has been big all year and they responded again tonight,” McMurray said. “No matter the field position, they’re going to come in and hunker down for a stop.”On the ensuing series, the Bruins marched 61 yards in 10 snaps, with Clark bolting 26 yards for the touchdown. Clark netted 39 yards in the drive.“Our offensive line stepped up,” Clark said. “I couldn’t do it without them. When I score, it’s their touchdown, too.”Funderburk, who nailed three of four extra points, split the uprights with 9:41 left in the third period for a 22-0 LHS lead.The Bruins added a late touchdown, with Wilrick Waiters scoring on a seven-yard run to cap a 54-yard drive. Waiters ran for 29 yards in the scoring march.“Kendrick Gladden deserves a great deal of credit for our offensive flow tonight,” McMurray said. “He entered the game at a critical time and showed poise.”Gladden, a sophomore, was pressed into duty in the first half when starter Matt Reese injured his hand on a scramble for the ball after a fumble.Gladden, 6-12 for 100 yards, set up the Bruins’ first points with a 48-yard completion to LHS senior receiver Michael Catoe at the NF eight. LHS couldn’t punch it in and Funderburk came on to drill the 27-yarder with 8:57 left before half.From that point, LHS scored twice in lightning fashion to take control of the game.“Hopefully the momentum will carry over to next time,” McMurray said. “We’ve started another win streak. We tell our players to do the best you can every game. Tonight, they came out and laid it on the line.”Lancaster caps a three-game home stretch with a visit from unbeaten South Pointe on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in LHS’s Region III-AAAA opener.The 6-0 Stallions downed Northwestern 27-7 Thursday night.