Coweta connections

Mercer wins clash against Reinhardt

There was quite a Coweta County feel to Thursday night's season-opening contest between Mercer and Reinhardt to begin the 2014 football season Thursday night in Macon.

With former Northgate running backs Alex Lakes and Payton Usher toting the football and former Newnan standout Lendell Arnold in the secondary to start Mercer's first season in the Southern Conference and former East Coweta coach Danny Cronic now serving as Reinhardt head coach along with his son Drew serving as the offensive coordinator the local community was well represented.

In the end it was Lakes, who was playing in his first college game after being redshirted last year, emerging as a hero.

Lakes scored on a 6-yard run with 2:51 left in the game to give the Bears a 45-42 win.

The former Northgate standout rushed for 110 yards on 20 carries.

Usher finished with 50 yards on 7 carries. He also had a long kickoff return to midfield to open the game.

Reinhardt had a chance late in the game but missed a field goal with less than 20 seconds remaining.

Drew Cronic dialed up a pass play on Reinhardt's final drive that was completed on a 4th down and eight to keep them in the game. One play later, a pass interference call set up the field goal attempt.

Lakes also scored the first touchdown of the game, but from there is was a shootout with Mercer leading 24-21 at the half.

Reinhardt took 42-38 lead in with 14:54 left in the game Nigel Curtis scored on a 21-yard run.

LUTZ HANDLES GAME WINNER IN STRIDE: Just like any other kick.

That's how Northgate graduate and Georgia State place-kicker Wil Lutz described his game-winning, 26-yard field goal with four seconds left that lifted the Panthers to a 38-37 victory over Abilene Christian last night in the Georgia Dome.

'Before the last drive, Coach [Miles] came up to me and told me that the game was going to be on me, and I told him I was ready for it,' Lutz said 'Coach just told me, 'I've done this to you plenty of times in practice, just go out there and kick it.'' The junior knew his stage was approaching as quarterback Nick Arbuckle led the offense down the field in the waning seconds.

'I knew they were going to try to ice me with their last timeout, so I just jogged over, got some water and jogged back.

Lutz's final words before the kick?

'I asked Ben [McLane, his holder] how we were going to celebrate when it's over, and Ben said, 'I'm probably going to throw you in the stands,'' Lutz joked.



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