Tawas Area’s Ozzy Johnson boots a 36-yard field goal, as Sam Weiss holds, during Thursday’s 44-3 home loss to Laker.

TAWAS CITY – Tawas Area was able to put up a fight early on its regular season finale with Laker on Thursday. The Braves couldn’t keep up with the Lakers’ strong ground game as the night wore on, however, as they came up short 44-3 on a rain-soaked night. 

“The kids fight hard there is no question about it,” head coach Aaron Hazen said. “I was very happy with the stop and forced fumble on the first drive. (Laker) was a big, physical team.” 

Laker took the opening drive down the field, and had a first-and-goal at the five yard-line. 

The Braves were ablet to force a fumble, which Gabe Kaniszewski recovered. 

Tawas punted the ball back to the Lakers on the ensuing drive, however, allowing Laker to take an 8-0 lead on an 11-yard touchdown run.

The Braves answered with their lone scoring drive of the night. A 30-yard return by Lukas Herrick on the kick-off set the Braves up on the Laker 30-yard line and Tawas was able to convert a fourth-and-six play on a pass from Justin Ulman to Eli Gonzales.

The drive reached as far as the 12-yard line, however, losses on back-to-back plays made it a fourth-and-long on the 20. 

The Braves opted for a 36-yard field-goal attempt, which Ozzy Johnson calmy drilled, despite the heavy downpour. 

“Ozzy has a great leg and he continually hits long range field goals in practice,” Hazen said. “In warm-ups, our special teams coach had him kicking from long range and he felt confident in him and his ability to make it from that range. On offense Ozzy also had a great catch and nice run after the catch. it was good to see him out there running around. On defense he also had a pretty good game.”

The Braves fell behind 22-3 after the first quarter on two more Laker touchdown runs and it was 36-3 at the half as the Lakers added another touchdown run and a short touchdown pass.

The lone score of the second half was a 43-yard touchdown run by Laker. 

Stats were not provided by press time. 

Tawas (0-6 overall) heads to Montrose (5-1) on Friday to open the Division 6 post-season.

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