The Lejeune High School football team lost 35-0 to East Carteret at home, Nov. 1. Here are five takeaways from the game.
1. For six Lejeune seniors, it was their last home game.
Darnell Collins, Navar Hickman, Lakiegh Harris, Devin Morley, Enrique Martinez and Ethan Skillings have all played their final football game on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
For Lejeune coach Jonathan Delle, the seniors helped show him how they did things in the past.
“The seniors have definitely been great to have, especially as a first year coach, to kind of guide me (on) the traditions (of the program),” Delle said. “They would kind of show me the ropes in a sense without saying, ‘okay coach, this is what we are going to do next.’”
2. The Lejeune defense was able to force turnovers and create opportunities.
The Lejeune defense recovered an East Carteret fumble on just their second possession of the game. The Devil Pups were able to force two turnovers on downs in the first half, both of which came when they were backed up deep into their own territory.
In the second half, the Lejeune defense turned things up a notch. On East Carteret’s second play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Jebez Hunter intercepted a pass from quarterback Jacob Nelson. Lejeune’s next two defensive outings also resulted in interceptions. Kevin Brown intercepted Nelson, returning it all the way to the 8 yard line before he was stopped short of the goal line. Collins also had an interception.
3. Lejeune’s giveaways and miscues on offense and special teams were deflating.
In the first half alone, the Lejeune offense had two turnovers on downs, a punt blocked, a fumble lost and an interception returned for a touchdown. The second half was stronger for Lejeune’s offense, but special teams had a couple miscues. Early in the third quarter, the Devil Pups had a punt blocked that was returned for a touchdown. They also had a field goal attempt blocked.
“(They have) a lot of talent and a lot of ability,” Delle said. “I’m going to be sad to see them go, which I think is natural, but I lose kids every year, and it’s not just my seniors, because they are always moving.”
4. The Devil Pups still have hope for another win.
Lejeune’s final shot at getting another win will be Friday when they visit Pender for the season finale. The two teams have identical overall records of 1-9. Pender’s only win of the season was a 16-14 victory over Heide Trask. Lejeune fell to Trask 16-3 a couple weeks ago. The last time Pender and Lejeune played, Pender won 26-0.
5. Coach Delle is not getting down on his squad.
“I think overall the players are real happy in terms of what they’ve accomplished,” Delle said after the East Carteret game. “I go back and look at how they’ve performed against some of these other schools over the years, and even though we have lost 43-0, 16-3, if I look at previous years the scores were far greater in terms of what we lost by. So even in a loss, we’ve still won because we’ve got our growth. It shows we are stronger, and we are building in the right direction.”