Photo: Ryan Cusentino

The Lawton Blue Devils began their 2022 season with a target on their back. After last year’s run to the State Championship game, Lawton has everyone’s attention. Despite some key departures, there are many who believe that Wade Waldrup’s crew is ready for another run this fall. They started their season off against Benton Harbor, a Class B team with nearly double the enrollment of the Blue Devils. They proved to be a formidable challenge early, but the second half performance carried Lawton to victory, 27-12.

In the first quarter, Kal Motter got the Blue Devils on the board. His 1-yard carry gave Lawton a 6-0 edge. They were unable to convert the point-after kick. In the second quarter, Luke Leighton joined the scoring with a 44-yard sprint past the Tigers. At 12-0, it looked like Lawton had seized all momentum.

Benton Harbor was resilient, putting together a pair of touchdown drives. Davointe Tasker was vital to the first score, a 73-yard pass. Much like Lawton, Benton Harbor suffered from kicking woes. Two unsuccessful PATs left this game knotted up at 12 after two quarters of play.

Neither team would score in the third quarter, leaving the deadlock at 12 with twelve minutes to go. Quarterback Aiden O’Brien broke the tie with a 3-yard quarterback keeper. Waldrup dialed up the two-point try, and Kal Motter was able to power his way across the goal line to give Lawton a 20-12 advantage. Motter would ice the game with a 2-yard touchdown run later in the quarter.

This game was extremely close statistically, with Lawton outgained Benton Harbor by only 63 yards, 269-206. The Blue Devils were able to overcome a (-1) turnover differential, and the fact that they committed 19 more yards in penalties.

Aiden O’Brien was 2/6 passing for 12 yards. He added 42 yards on the ground. Kal Motter finished with 87 yards rushing on 15 carries, while Luke Leighton turned 10 carries into 83 yards. Carter Cosby also had some key carries, finishing with 47 yards.

Lawton, now 1-0, will look to improve their record next week against Decatur. Benton Harbor will search for their first 2022 victory against Ottawa Hills.