(PAINESVILLE, Ohio) – Another second half comeback attempt fell just short as Lake Erie was defeated by Davenport 13-9 in a defensive affair Saturday afternoon. The Storm (0-2) drove down the field in the final seconds, but the Panthers (1-0) were able to keep them out of the end zone as time expired.
Earlier in the quarter Javarian Smith hit Josh Hufstetler from seven yards out to put the Storm within striking distance. It capped off a 12-play, 66 yard drive that the Green and White desperately needed.
The following possession saw the visitors chew time off the clock, but eventually the defense was able to step up big. Facing fourth and long, Justin Growel was able to sack Deondre Ford, strip the ball, and recover the fumble to give the Storm one last chance with less than a minute remaining.
Two more Smith-Hufstetler connections, one of which went for 31 yards, helped put Lake Erie back in the red zone, but efforts from there came up just short.
Lake Erie initially got on the board in the second quarter as Justin Smith connected on a 25-yard field goal at the beginning of the period. Davenport was able to answer it with one of its own on the next drive and added another as time expired in the half.
That was all the scoring the Panthers could get, however, as the Storm locked down and shut out the opposition in the second half for the second straight week. Turnovers helped them as they forced four fumbles and recovered three of them.
Growel led the charge with forcing two of them. He finished the day with nine tackles, four of which were for a loss, with two sacks. He also added a pass breakup and another quarterback hurry.
Both teams were kept under 300 yards with Davenport keeping a hold of a 297-246 advantage in total offense. First downs were nearly even as well with the Panthers also holding a narrow 19-18 advantage.
The Storm will head back on the road next week as they start conference play with Hillsdale. Kickoff with the Chargers is set for 4 p.m.