WALTON — A losing streak came to an end Friday night in the season finale of the IHSAA Football Season.
Twin Lakes (5-3) handled host Lewis Cass 32-12 to end its three-game losing skid after starting the season a perfect 4-0. The Kings’ (2-7) losing ways continued and enter the IHSAA Football Sectionals with a four-game losing streak.
“We were just flat out-played in the first half of the ballgame. Twin Lakes came out and played really, really good early,” Lewis Cass coach Clayton Mannering said. “They are a well-coached team and are hitting their stride this year.
“I was disappointed in the way we came out. We came out with a little more fire in the second half, but it was a little too late.”
Twin Lakes built a 17-0 half-time advantage with stingy-defense and a solid running game.
“We knew we were going to get a tough game. Lewis Cass is a well coached team. They have been playing better football at the end of the season and their defense did a really nice job against Hamilton Heights. We thought we were going to get a physical game and that’s what we got,” Twin Lakes coach Kevin Sayler said. “We executed well enough to get the victory and we had a few guys step up in some key spots. Brandon Franscoviak had a heck of a game on the defensive line. Jaylen Roush had a great game running the football and Noah Johnson had a great game in the pass game catching the ball.
“You want your older guys stepping up this time of the year and we had a few seniors step up and make some plays for us. I am very happy to see that,” Sayler added.
The Twin Lakes victory took on added importance as former Indians coach Scott Mannering is a Cass assistant coach for his son and first-year coach Clayton Mannering.
“It was more that Coach Mannering was on the other side line instead of a revenge game because we all have respect for Coach Mannering,” Twin Lakes senior Jaylen Roush sad. “He is a great guy. We wanted to show him how much we have improved since last year. We weren’t terrible, but we weren’t the best, so we wanted him how much we have improved.”
Roush explained that playing against Lewis Cass’ Wing-T offense helped after running the same offense during Mannering’s four years at Twin Lakes.
“It helped for our linebackers knowing where the ball was going. We definitely recognized the plays so that helped,” Roush explained.
Roush scored two first half touchdowns from 21 yards and 1 yard out. He finished with 15 carries for 79 yards and also caught three passes for 63 yards. Kahari Jackson caught a 36-yard TD pass.
The Indians held the Kings to just 44 yards of offense in the first half before Tyson Johnson and Kian Meister got Lewis Cass going. The duo found some running room by executing the jet sweep on the outside of the Indians’ defense.
“We didn’t make any big changes at halftime,” Clayton Mannering said. “We had our play makers make plays in the second half. Johnson and Meister are two seniors that we had to rely on and they did a better job in the second half.”
Johnson scored on a 33-yard run on the jet sweep in the fourth quarter with 6:22 left to close the gap to 24-12 before Twin Lakes’ Noah Johnston sealed the game. The senior caught a 25-yard touchdown on fourth and 7 late with 3:49 to go to put Twin Lakes up by the game’s final margin.
“[Johnston] is a good player, and we were playing an undersized sophomore against him, so they did a good job recognizing that and taking advantage of the match-up,” Clayton Mannering stated.
According to Johnston, the coverage helped him take advantage of the Kings’ secondary.
“I knew the guy across from me was a lot smaller than me and I knew what I could do against him depending on where he lined up,” Johnston said. “I took advantage of my height and I saw the safety cheating over, so I read if the guy was giving me the short slant or the deep fade.”
Johnston finished with eight catches for 105 yards while signal-caller Lewis Dellinger finished with 21 of 29 passing for 227 yards.
Lewis Cass’ Johnson also scored from 14 yards out in the third quarter on a jet sweep.
Twin Lakes will play Hanover Central (7-2) next week in the first round of the IHSAA Tournament while Lewis Cass will play LaVille (5-1) next week.