LACEY - The North Thurston Rams found out quickly how long it takes the state's No. 1-ranked team to score after kickoff.
One play. Forty-seven yards. Twenty-one seconds.
Calvin Schmidtke's 47-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage to Jermaine Kearse put the Lakes Lancers up 7-0 with 11:39 left in the first quarter, and they wouldn't look back on their way to a 43-21 win over North Thurston on Thursday night at South Sound Stadium.
The game wasn't as close as the score suggests. Lakes didn't score in the fourth quarter, while the Rams scored 14 of their 21 points in the second half.
"We had a great first half," Lakes coach Dave Miller said. "The kids were ready to go. They had a fire in their eyes and they knew it was a big game."
Lakes (6-0 overall, 4-0 in the Class 3A Western Cascade Conference) scored on its first three possessions, including two in a span of 23 seconds.
Schmidtke, who threw for all of the Lancers' six touchdowns, found Tony Thomas in the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown.
On the Rams' ensuing possession, a fumble gave the ball right back to the Lancers, who would score on the next play as Schmidtke found Dominick Davis for an 11-yard score. Lakes was up 20-0 with 4:40 to play in the first quarter.
"I was pretty excited that we got off to a pretty good start," Schmidtke said.
The problem for Lakes' opponents all year has been stopping the play of Schmidtke. Against the Rams, he was able to scramble time after time yet still threw the ball to his many targets. On the bright side, the Rams' defense sacked Schmidtke four times.
"He's such a good kid that he finds the open guy and gets the ball to them," North Thurston coach Rocky Patchin said of Schmidtke. "You can't say enough good things about their quarterback. They're one of the best ballclubs in years."
North Thurston (4-2 overall, 2-2 WCC) was able to limit Karavio Middleton, one of the nation's top college recruits at tight end, to three catches for 17 yards. However, one of those catches was for a 4-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone with 5:05 left in the third quarter, the Lancers' final score of the game. Lakes had been ahead 36-7 at the half.
"Our guys made plays," Miller said. "I like the way we played in the first half, and I think we played like the No. 1 team in the first half. No doubt about it."
All three of the Rams' scores came on the ground, with two of them 1-yard TDs by sophomore quarterback Jacob Klumker.
The Rams picked up some momentum moving the ball late in the first quarter, thanks to Brett Roberson. He had a 31-yard catch to set up Klumker's first score to pull the Rams within 13 at 20-7.
Roberson, who played only on offense because of a banged-up shoulder, would add another big catch before the first half, a one-handed grab down the right sideline for a 36-yard gain.
"The QB put it where only I could get it," said Roberson, who caught three passes for 80 yards. "He allowed me to go out and makes those plays."
The Rams' final score came with 1.2 seconds left, on a 7-yard run by Mike Hazel.
Lakes finished with 286 yards of total offense after racking up 205 in the first half. North Thurston finished with 214 yards.
"I think they're a better ballclub going up against any team right now," Patchin said.