Defense makes difference
Panthers start year with back-to-back shutouts
By Stephen Fastenau | Columbia County Bureau
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Video highlights from the first half of the Lakeside at Greenbrier football game.

Lakeside coaches were frustrated at halftime Friday with their offense's inability to find a rhythm. But the defense had already removed the need for too much worry.

The Panthers took advantage of Greenbrier's miscues and shut down the Wolfpack's spread attack for a 26-0 victory.

"The defense was making big plays. It kept going our way," junior linebacker Kendal Parker said.

Lakeside (2-0) has swept its closest rivals for the first time since coach Jody Grooms took over thejob in 2007.

The Panthers posted their second shutout, the most in a season for the program in at least nine years.

Greenbrier (1-2) turned the ball over six times during the first half, five times in the second quarter. That was it for the Wolfpack.

"We let the outcomes of the game get to us," Greenbrier running back Kendrick Wilson said. "We're going to just get stronger. That's all we can do."

Quarterback Mark Weidenharr started the Panthers' scoring with a pretty play fake and pass to Ricky McMurtrey. Lakeside then returned two interceptions for touchdowns. One was 40 yards, the other 47 yards.

Weidenharr and junior quarterback Ben Wilson traded series.

They combined to complete 18 of 35 passes for 179 yards. When one wasn't playing quarterback, the other was split wide or coming out of the backfield. The odd dance was enough Friday, and Wilson said the chemistry should only improve.

He praised the other side of the ball Friday.

"Our defense played awesome," Wilson said.

After a series of missed chances and injuries last season, Lakeside appears poised for a playoff run.

Grooms said his team's performance and its shutout of Evans to start the season was the start Lakeside's coaches expected after watching them work during the summer.

"We've paid our dues," Grooms said. "We've gotten stronger and made a commitment to make this a year-round event."

Greenbrier running back DJ Tyson left the game in the third quarter. Tyson was down for nearly 10 minutes after being tackled before his head was stabilized and he left the field on a stretcher.

Kendrick Wilson said his teammate, who left in an ambulance, should be OK. Tyson was able to move his extremities and was stabilized as a precaution.

Reach Stephen Fastenau at (706) 863-6165, ext. 116 or


PLAY OF THE GAME: Pick one of Lakeside's interception returns for a touchdown in the first half. Jacob Lane rumbled 47 yards for a score and Khadi Tshishiku added another on a 40-yard dash before the end of the second quarter.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Lakeside linebackers Kendal Parker and Chris Harfield were all over the field, but it was Tshishiku's play in the secondary that set him apart -- two picks, one returned for a score.

WHY LAKESIDE WON: The Panthers weren't clicking offensively, but two defensive touchdowns aided their cause.

WHY GREENBRIER LOST: The Wolfpack could not overcome a series of turnovers in the second quarter.

NEXT: Lakeside at Glenn Hills, Friday, 7:30 p.m. Greenbrier, off.

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From the Saturday, September 12, 2009 edition of the Augusta Chronicle


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