MONTGOMERY — Lake Creek rode a dominant second half to a 61-25 win over Bryan Rudder at Montgomery ISD Stadium on Friday night.
In each of its first two years as a program, Lake Creek earned a pair of wins in district play. After just two tries in District 10-5A (Div. II) this season, the Lions have reached that mark.
“I’m proud of the kids and the way they’ve worked over the last three years,” Lake Creek coach Pat Kennedy said. “They’re starting to figure it out and it’s exciting to watch.”
After a slow first quarter, the Lions put up 39 points over the next two to pull away.
Quarterback Ty Sexton finished the game 17 of 25 for 301 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. In the second half, the senior was 10 for 10 for 161 yards and two scores.
Justin Freeney rushed for 153 yards and three scores on 24 carries. Dayeton Sweeting scored four times - twice in the air and twice on the ground - and totaled 206 yards of offense.
“Dayeton’s a helluva football player, and Justin’s stepped up and been great,” Kennedy said. “I couldn’t ask for more from Justin Freeney. I’m proud of all of them.”
The first quarter was a defensive show, with the Lions (5-1, 2-0) and Rangers (4-2, 0-2) totaling five punts and a turnover on downs. Freeney scored the lone touchdown on Lake Creek’s first drive - it was a 4-yard run that capped an 8-play, 57-yard drive. A Sweeting two-point run made it 8-0.
Rudder’s defense got the visitors on the board. CJ Nash picked off a tipped ball and the defensive lineman ran it back 55 yards. After a false start, the Rangers missed their extra point and trailed 8-6 with 9:58 to play in the half.
Lake Creek scored the next two touchdowns, both passes from Sexton. First, the senior signal caller took a hit on fourth down to find a wide-open Sam Lee for a 28-yard score. Later, Sweeting caught a quick screen, stiff-armed one defender, spun away from another, and finished the 60-yard sprint up the sideline to give the Lions a 21-6 lead.
Lee caught five passes for 68 yards. Bryce Linscomb had four catches for 91 yards. Sweeting led the way with 130 yards on six catches.
With an 11-play, 82-yard drive late in the half, Rudder cut into the lead. EJ Ezar capped the possession with an arcing touchdown pass of 24 yards to Marcus Diles. The two-point pass failed, and it was 21-12 Lake Creek at halftime.
Ezar, who entered the game with over 1,600 passing yards on the season and a completion rate of 68 percent, completed 19 of 47 passes for 224 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He added two scores and 48 yards on the ground. The Rangers’ ground game was held to 73 yards on 30 attempts.
“We’ve done a really good job this year on defense, particularly the run game,” Kennedy said. “We’ll just keep working on it. We’ve been OK on the throw, and great on the run. As long as we can do that and can run the ball on offense, we’ve got a chance to be in every game.”
Diles caught seven passes for 132 yards. Keithron Lee caught seven for 59 yards.
The third quarter saw six touchdowns, with Lake Creek holding a 4-2 advantage in the category.
Justin Freeney scored on a 17-yard run, Lee caught a 22-yard pass from Sexton and Sweeting capped the quarter’s scoring with a 35-yard run and a 22-yard pass up the sideline from Sexton on back-to-back drives. The latter scores, both in the final minute of the quarter, came on either side of a Rudder turnover on downs.
In-between the Lions’ first two scores, Ezar capped Rudder drives with touchdown runs of seven and nine yards.
Lake Creek emerged from the flurry of scoring with a 47-25 lead.
“We kept going for two because I thought it was going to be a shootout,” Kennedy said. “I talked to coach (Brant) Bourquin and said we needed to get a defensive stop. We got a stop, then got the touchdown right at the end of the third quarter, and I think that separated it. Then our kids kept playing.”
Following Kyle Scott’s second interception of the game, Sweeting finished a quick drive with a 41-yard touchdown run. It extended the lead to 54-25 with 9:55 to play.
Freeney notched his third rushing score around the quarter’s midway point to push the Lions past 60.
Lake Creek is at A&M Consolidated, which entered Week 6 ranked No. 3 in the state, at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Rudder hosts Montgomery at the same time.