Jordan Fredericks may be the most explosive player in high school football. The senior playmaker at Lawrence, who now has 20 touchdowns through six games, gets all the attention from the opposing defense -- and rightfully so.
But opponents beware. Quarterback Sean Moran clearly adds another dimension to the Lawrence offense. Moran keyed a string of three straight second-half touchdowns when he scampered 64 yards for a score to break a tie at 14 and the Golden Tornadoes went on to defeat Plainedge, 34-16, yesterday in a showdown of unbeatens in Nassau Conference III in Cedarhurst.
With the Plainedge defense bearing down on Fredericks and keeping him bottled up throughout the first half, Moran went to work on the first possession of the third quarter. On third down and three, Moran faked Fredericks into the line, bounced outside and raced down the visitor's sideline for the tiebreaking touchdown run. Matt Libby added the kick for the 21-14 lead with 10:47 left in the third.
"We never got into our flow in the first half," said Lawrence coach Joe Martilotti. "Jordan is our go-to-guy but Sean Moran is quite an athlete and he turned the game our way."
Fredericks had been held to three yards on four carries before breaking a 30-yard scoring run just before the half to tie it at 14. His 99-yard kickoff return after Plainedge's opening score tied it at 7. Plainedge ran 45 plays in the first half to only 15 for Lawrence and held a time of possession advantage of 18:03 to 5:57.
Plainedge (5-1), using the same power offense that saw them find the end zone on two of their first three drives of the game, drove to the Golden Tornadoes 22 in the third quarter before turning the ball over on downs.
"Our defense started to tackle better," said Lawrence middle linebacker Simon Jones. "They took it to us in the first half and we had some misreads. That all changed in the second half."
Moran orchestrated a nine-play, 78-yard scoring drive, capped by a perfectly thrown 35-yard pass to the streaking Tevine Johnson down the home sideline for the 27-14 lead with 3:27 left in the third.
"We made some defensive mistakes early in the second half," said Plainedge coach Rob Shaver. "And it cost us the game."
Fredericks, who finished with 112 yards on 25 carries, added an 11-yard touchdown run with 8:48 left for the 34-14 lead. "He has another gear and he's just a special kind of player," Shaver said.
Fredericks final touchdown was one to relish. He hurdled one tackler at the point of attack, juked another, and skipped outside over a fallen tackler to go 11 yards untouched.
"Our defense, especially the pressure from our front four, set up those last few scores," Martilotti said. "And our secondary can cover anyone. We took away the pass and they became one-dimensional."
Lawrence (6-0) dominated the second half the same way Plainedge owned the first half. Plainedge had a 19-play, 95-yard drive that lasted 8:03 to open the scoring with 10:37 left in the half. Workhorse Davien Kuinlan, a junior, carried 13 times for 64 yards. He scored on a 2-yard run and Dylan Burns' kick made it 7-0. Kuinlan had 181 yards on 41 carries.
It took Lawrence 16 seconds to answer. Fredericks corralled the kickoff just before the goal line and raced 99 yards down the middle of the field. "Jordan made the big plays early," Martilotti said. "Then it was Moran and the big defense."