For the first time in eight years, the Lakota West football program has won its first six regular season games. Its most recent win, a 48-18 victory against Greater Miami Conference foe Princeton, improved its conference record to 3-0.
Against the Vikings, Lakota West trailed 18-14 at halftime, but scored 24 unanswered in the second half. Junior quarterback Malik Grove led the way with three rushing touchdowns in the second half. The junior also rushed for another touchdown in the first quarter, as well as completed 7-of-19 passes for 108 yards.
The Firefirds leading rusher was sophomore Kole Gentry, who finished with a career-high 117 rushing yards on 17 carries. Prior to the Princeton game, Gentry had been averaging 42 rushing yards per game. His previous career high was 53 rushing yards in the Firebirds’ 30-13 win against Mason Sept. 14.
Defensively, Lakota West received a strong performance from Eli McBurrows, who recorded a team-high 11 tackles (eight solo and three assisted) in the win against Princeton. Heading into Friday’s game, the senior had a total of 12 tackles combined in five games.
The win should help steady the Firebirds’ position in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Region 4 computer rankings. Heading into the matchup, Lakota West was ranked No. 2 in the region, behind GMC rival Colerain (6-0 overall, 3-0 in GMC). At the conclusion of the regular season, the top eight teams in the region’s computing rankings will qualify for the postseason.
Next Friday, Oct. 5, Lakota West will go on the road to face Oak Hills (4-2 overall, 2-1 in GMC). The Highlanders are coming off back-to-back road wins at Princeton, 32-19, and at Middletown, 27-26. Their two losses this season were at Loveland, 17-0, and vs. Lakota East, 40-20.
After the Oak Hills contest, Lakota West will have three games left in the regular season – at home against Middletown (2-4 overall, 1-2 in GMC) Oct. 12, on the road at Colerain Oct. 19 and at home against school district rival Lakota East (5-1 overall, 3-0 in GMC) Oct. 26.
Box score to be posted later on the Greater Miami Conference website.