Colton Jones regroups, leads Louisville past Lake

BY Mike Popovich

 

LOUISVILLE This was a time that called for poise.

Quarterback Colton Jones and the Louisville Leopards showed it when it mattered most Friday night.

Boy, did they show it.

Jones broke his own school record by passing for 502 yards as Louisville held off previously-unbeaten Lake 41-28 to improve to 2-2. The junior finished 28-of-37 and threw six touchdown passes, four to Ryan Pukys.

The Leopards were pinned on their heals thanks to a sudden 14-point swing just before halftime. An interception by Lake's Bryce Snow at the goal line and a 44-yard touchdown pass from Paul Troyer to Tye Hunt on the next play cut what could have been a 21-point Louisville lead to 21-14.

After Lake tied the game at 21-21 in the third quarter on a Noah Collins touchdown run, Jones and the Leopards went to work.

Jones threw touchdown passes to Pukys and Davis Burick. When a Cameron Martin touchdown run inched the Blue Streaks, Jones and Pukys hooked up for their fourth TD of the night, this time from 39 yards out.

What happened at the end of the first half never fazed Jones or his teammates.

"It was unfortunate the way the half ended, but we trusted in ourselves," Jones said. "We knew we could come out and score points and continue to get stops.

"I'll tell you what, in the locker room no one was down. We were so encouraged. We thought the whole time we were planning on winning this game."

Jones and Pukys would have been a fantasy player's dream. Pukys finished with eight catches for 196 yards.

Bryce Zuppe caught five passes for 123 yards and a touchdown for Louisville.

"All of our receivers are great," Jones said. "Ryan, I've been playing with him since the fifth grade, and he's one of my best friends. It felt good getting him the ball. He was open. And the line did a great job."

Louisville's offense has shown signs of how explosive it can be. The Leopards put it all together against Lake.

"We felt like we have moved the ball most of the games," head coach John DeMarco. "We just haven't scored. We were able to put the ball in the end zone a little bit tonight. It makes a difference when you make some points at the end of those drives."

The Leopards did it against a Lake defense that allowed just 34 points in the first three games.

"Offensively they did some great things," Blue Streaks head coach Dan DeGeorge said. "Their quarterback threw the ball excellent, and their receivers made plays all over the place. I give them credit."

Troyer threw for 201 yards, while Hunt caught six passes for 143 yards..

The Blue Streaks took their only lead after driving 71 yards in 11 plays on the first possession of the game.

Troyer's 36-yard pass to Hunt drove Lake to the Louisville 33-yard line. A heavy dose of Martin pushed the Blue Streaks closer, and his 1-yard touchdown run gave Lake a 7-0 lead.

A great response drive from the Leopards tied the game. Jones went 5-for-6 on the drive and ended it with a 13-yard touchdown to Pukys that made it 7-7.

Jones and Pukys struck again in the second quarter. Pukys hauled in a long pass from Jones at the Lake 35 and raced home for a 68-yard touchdown completion and a 14-7 Louisville lead.

After forcing a three-and-out, the Leopards increased their advantage.

Zuppe made a great catch between two defenders to give Louisville a first down in Lake territory. On the next play, Zuppe sprinted down the right side and caught a 52-yard touchdown pass from Jones to give the Leopards a 21-7 lead.

Jones was 13-of-17 passing for 267 yards in the first half alone.

 

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