LAUREL - Meridian's football team fell to Lakewood, 27-12, in a non-league game Friday, Sept. 13, at Meridian High School. The Trojans were led by running back Letrez Jones, who rushed for 74 yards on eight carries and a touchdown.
Jones added 109 receiving yards on five catches and a receiving touchdown. His touchdown through the air came on a short pass from Meridian quarterback Tanner Tutterrow, which Jones grabbed and danced around Lakewood defenders for a 76-yard score.
"I feel like we're there (competitively), we just need to get a few little knots out in practice," Jones said.
Lakewood was led by quarterback Blake Watts, who rushed for 49 yards and passed for 85 yards and a touchdown.
Lakewood capitalized on Meridian miscues, taking an interception off of Tutterrow back 40 yards for a score and returning a Tutterrow fumble 50 yards for another touchdown.
The Cougars dished out some bone-crunching hits on defense, but Meridian's offense kept its heads up, even after Tutterrow was knocked out of the game. Jones took a hit from a Meridian defender that knocked his helmet off, but made for a 15-yard penalty against the Cougars. Jones returned to action a few plays later.
"Their defense was good, fast and physical," Jones said.
Jones' rushing touchdown came late in the first quarter when he broke a run around a pack of Lakewood defenders and scampered 36 yards for the score. That put the Trojans up 6-0, but Lakewood answered two minutes later with a scoring drive of its own, capped off by Curtis Patton's 9-yard touchdown run.
The two defensive touchdowns and Jones' receiving touchdown followed. Then midway through the third quarter Lakewood struck again with a 20-yard pass from Watts to Sam Chambers for the final score of the game.
Tutterrow and backup quarterback Jamison Hodge combined for 154 yards through the air, a touchdown and two interceptions.
"We've been practicing with both guys at quarterback, so the switch wasn't a problem," Jones said.
Meridian's rushing attack combined for just 84 yards as the Cougars seemed to have an answer for every play the Trojans threw at them.
Paulmer Gregory had 86 yards rushing for Lakewood on eight carries. Each of the Cougars' running backs danced between defenders and it took multiple Trojans to bring them down.
Meridian matched Lakewood on defensive toughness, forcing two fumbles and recovering both, but 40 penalty yards of its own doomed the Trojans.
"All these kids played hard, through hard hits and hard defense," Meridian coach Bob Ames said.
Meridian's next game is against Tri-Cities Prep, Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Peshastin-Dryden Sports Complex in the Tri-Cities.
MERIDIAN 6 0 6 0- 12
LAKEWOOD 7 7 13 0- 27
Meridian - Letrez Jones 36 run (kick failed)
Lakewood - Curtis Patton 9 run (Zach Johnson kick)
Lakewood - 40 yard interception return (Johnson kick)
Meridian - Jones 76 pass from Tanner Tutterrow (2-point attempt failed)
Lakewood - Jacob Vanwinkle 50 fumble return (kick blocked)
Lakewood - Matt Seiber 20 pass from Blake Watts
First downs 26 23
Rushing Att-Yards 24-84 39-160
Comp-Att-Int 14-24-2 7-12-0
Passing yards 154 85
Penalties-yards 6-40 7-75
Fumbles-lost 3-3 2-2
RUSHING - Meridian: Letrez Jones 8-74, Cody Bachman 3-6, Bryce Garcia 8-19, Tanner Tutterrow 3-(-20), Jamison Hodge 2-5. Lakewood: Paulmer Gregory 8-86, Blake Watts 20-49, Keana Jackson 3-2, Curtis Patton 5-20, Brett Bustad 2-9, Zach Johnson 1-(-6).
PASSING - Meridian: Tanner Tutterrow 9-15-1-113, Jamison Hodge 5-9-1-41. Lakewood: Blake Watts 7-12-0.
RECEIVING - Meridian: Sam Chambers 1-13, Kyle Linderman 1-9, Bryce Garcia 3-8, Letrez Jones 5-109, Jacob Plagerman 4-15. Lakewood: Paulmer Gregory 1-(-3), Brett Bustad 5-68, Matt Seiber 1-20.