Lake Area came into Friday’s game hoping to take a step in erasing a difficult season.
The Jaguars battled back from a 21-point deficit late in the fourth quarter but came up short in the end as Episcopal (7-1) topped Lake Area 35-28 at Pan American Stadium.
Episcopal attempted a 32-yard field goal with 5:52 left in the fourth quarter that would have potentially put it up two scores. That attempt was blocked and gave new life to Lake Area (2-5) trailing 28-21.
Quarterback Myron Junior tossed the second of his two touchdown passes, a 72-yarder to Kyron Sutton to tie the score at 28 with just over four minutes remaining.
Lake Area played the second half with a since of urgency and pride after wide receiver Erin Johnson left the game with a fractured vertebrae in neck.
“Those kids were hurt early on after the injury,” Lake Area coach Derrick Lewis said. “They looked at each other and wanted to win badly for him. They left everything on the field tonight and played through adversity.”
But Episcopal running back TJ Wisham burst through the Lake Area defense on his way to a 72-yard touchdown run for the game-winning score.
“You can’t take a team lightly if you’re going to consider yourself a good team,” Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois said. “Those guys fought hard and kept with it.
“You can’t give a team second chances on the road. We did that, and it almost backfired on us.”
Junior sparked the Leopards’ comeback with a 22-yard touchdown run that cut the lead to 28-14 in the third quarter. He finished with 247 yards passing and two touchdowns. He added two rushing scores for 85 yards on 12 carries.
Wisham was the workhorse for Episcopal; gutting out tough yards on the Knights first two drives after halftime. On the ensuing possession quarterback Kade Edenfield found Wisham for a 68-yard touchdown pass. The score put Episcopal up 28-7 in the third quarter.
Wisham finished with 148 yards rushing, 68 yards receiving and four total touchdowns.
Lake Area snuffed out an Episcopal fake punt deep in Knights territory with 8:54 left in the third quarter. Lake Area threatened to score and cut the lead to seven, but a Junior pass was intercepted in the end zone.
Wisham scored on runs of 4 and 5 yards to give Episcopal a 14-0 advantage early in the second quarter. Episcopal lineman Taylor Rotolo recovered a Leopards fumble in the end zone to extend the Knights’ lead to 21-0.
Lake Area was struggling before Junior connected with Sutton on an 82-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-7.