Going into their game against hometown rival Gannon University on Oct. 13, the Lakers carried with them a five-game win streak and a point to prove. The hometown rivalry between the Lakers and Golden Knights serves as a chance for either team to compete for recognition as Erie’s best football team.
Having lost against the Golden Knights in their last two meetings, the Lakers set out to reverse that trend. With a team full of players that have been shattering, setting, and tying some of the schools best records, the Golden Knights were in for a battle. A battle the Laker’s prevailed in, raising their win streak to six in the 38-29 victory.
The Laker’s explosive defense made it incredibly hard for the Golden Knights to run the ball, allowing only 11-yards rushing on the ground. Gannon was forced to rely on their passing game, which earned them 428-yards, but the Laker’s defense refused to let them win.
Standout performances by defensive players Linnel Robinson, Deonte Huggins, Colin Kimball, Todd Wingate, and L.J. Stevens resulted in three fumbles, two interceptions, five sacks, and eight tackles for a loss.
The Laker’s impressive defensive work on Saturday gave rise to the offense, which made sure to capitalize on their teammates hard work. Redshirt freshman running back Brandon Brown-Dukes has one of the most impactful players all season, and Saturday was no different.
“We take our games one at a time, and I feel like if we continue this winning streak, it will make a really good statement about the team,” said Brown-Dukes.
Brown-Dukes rushed for 192-yards against the Golden Knights, making Saturday’s win his fifth 100-yard game and fourth game in which he ran for over 150-yards. Currently, Brown-Dukes stands at an impressive 899 rushing yards (fifth highest single-season total in school history). Additionally, Brown-Dukes is appreciative of the help he gets from the offensive line, who open up holes and lead the way for him.
“It feels great to be recognized for accomplishing such a goal, and I have to thank the offensive line for helping me do so,” said Brown-Dukes. “Our key thing is to run as physical and downhill as we can, and to follow our great blockers.”
As a redshirt freshman, Brown-Dukes will continue to improve and produce for the Lakers, and will continue to play a major role on the offensive side of the ball.
“The fact that my mother tells me all of the time that she’s proud of me – and also the rest of my family – inspires me to keep improving my game,” said Brown-Dukes. “We have to continue to improve and perform better every week in order to keep this winning streak alive. We have to continue to practice hard and execute every play as hard as we have been doing.”
The Lakers will be traveling to Indiana, Pa., to face IUP’s Crimson Hawks this Saturday, Oct. 20.