Amir Tyler Leads Lakewood Past Jackson Liberty for First 4-0 Start Since 2002
By Vin Ebenau - Shore Sports Network Contributor
JACKSON — Senior running back Amir Tyler ran for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns on 21 carries and quarterback Zyhier Jones ran for a short touchdown to lead Lakewood to a 20-3 Shore Conference Class B South victory over Jackson Liberty on Friday night.
The Piners are off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2002.
On a cold and rainy night with wind gusts blowing vigorously at Jackson Liberty High School, we were reminded of one thing: October football. With the Nor’easter turning the field into a what resembled a lake, pass attempts for both teams you could be counted on one hand. Jones was 0-for-2 passing for Lakewood while Ryan Van Wickle went 1-for-6 for 5 yards for Jackson Liberty. Given the conditions, the running games would turn out to be an expectedly big part of the matchup. Tyler took advantage of some huge holes opened by the Lakewood offensive line with another big game, including touchdowns of 75 and 31 yards in the first half.
The game began with optimism for Jackson Liberty, as the Lions (2-2, 2-1) were able to march far enough down the field to settle for a 37-yard field foal from Braden Yorke, who despite tough wind conditions blowing the ball left was narrowly able to make the attempt with 2:05 left in the first quarter to give Liberty a 3-0 lead.
Lakewood would answer back on the first play of its next drive when Tyler bolted 75 yards, swerving through the defense until he cleared the secondary to give Lakewood a 6-3 lead before Jones ran in the 2 point conversion with 1:47 left in the first quarter. Just barely into the second quarter, Tyler ran 31 yards for the score with 11:27 left in the first half to give Lakewood a 14-3 lead after missing the 2-point conversion attempt. The Piners carried that lead into halftime with Tyler rushing for 130 yards in the half.
After a scoreless third quarter, Lakewood continued to drive early in the fourth quarter with Jones rushing the ball into the end zone on a keeper with 9:25 left in the game to put Lakewood up 20-3.