A touchdown in the last seconds before halftime gave visiting Lake Norman the boost it needed to run away from North Mecklenburg in the second half in a 34-12 season-opening victory Friday night.
The game was played in the aftermath of tragedy, as North Meck cheerleader and track athlete Enjoneah Reel was killed in a traffic accident last Thursday that also seriously injured senior linebacker Kalvin McCollum. A moment of silence was observed for Reel before the game.
Each team converted a turnover into a touchdown in a closely played game which the Vikings led 12-7 after scoring twice in the second quarter, on a 73-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jaelon Anderson to Nyree Hardy and a 19-yard scoring run by Emanuel Wilson.
But Lake Norman took a short punt from North Meck and quickly drove 35 yards for a score, getting in the end zone on a 1-yard dive by quarterback Cole Ladowski eight seconds before halftime to take a 13-12 lead to the break. They never trailed again.
Running back Cole Jackson scored on runs of 1 and 24 yards for Lake Norman. Ladowski threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Braeden Conroy in the third quarter and Darien Wells added a 5-yard touchdown run.
Records: Lake Norman 1-0; North Meck 0-1
Worth mentioning: The stadium lights went out twice during the game, the first time 15 seconds into the second half, resulting in a 15-minute delay. They failed again with 14 seconds left to play and the game was ended.
What's Next: Lake Norman hosts Hopewell at 7 p.m. Friday and North Meck hosts Cox Mill at 7 p.m. Friday.