LAKE WORTH — The Fourth of July was more than two months ago, but the Joshua Owls and Lake Worth Bullfrogs put on one of the biggest firework shows of the year Friday night as Lake Worth outlasted Joshua for a 65-54 win.
The Owls' offense has been explosive through the first two weeks of the season but Joshua's defense has given up just as many yards and even more points to opponents, which has resulted in an 0-2 start.
In the loss, Joshua senior quarterback Landon Gest put on a record-breaking show as he threw for a school record 527 yards and six touchdowns on 29-of-56 passing. His favorite target on the night was Tyler Stone, who had eight receptions for 247 yards and four touchdowns.
Joshua added a complimentary run game to its impressive aerial assault as Kenyal Knight had 120 rushing yards on 16 carries.
But the Owl defense could not get the stop it needed as Lake Worth was able to put up 44 points in the second half and 545 total yards of offense with 37 first downs.
Joshua amassed 676 yards of offense with 28 first downs but the Owls lost the turnover battle, 2-0, which proved costly in a two-score game with little defensive stops.
The Owls and Bullfrogs traded scores early, with Gest opening the scoring on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Levi Garrett midway through the opening quarter. The Bullfrogs tied it on a one-yard pass. Joshua kicker Mario Mirandad added a 25-yard field goal to end the first quarter with the Owls on top, 10-7.
Lake Worth took its first lead on a 10-yard pass from Caleb Welch to Kamron Kimble early in the second quarter, but the Owls responded later in the quarter on a 54-yard scoring strike from Gest to Stone for a 17-14 lead.
The Bullfrogs again leapt past the Owls on the scoreboard with a 13-yard run by Kimble with 1:44 left in the second quarter, and Miranda tacked on a 29-yard field goal in the final seconds as Lake Worth took a 21-20 lead into halftime.
To open the third quarter, Lake Worth scored back-to-back touchdowns for the first time in the game. Only 40 seconds into play in the third quarter, Cedric Bailey scored on a three-yard run, then less than 3 minutes later, the Frogs scored on a 12-yard pass from Welch to Damirion Polty for a 34-20 lead.
Joshua responded less than 2 minutes later on an 18-yard scoring pass from Gest to J.D. Davis to pull to within 34-27. But the Frogs answered only a minute later on a 58-yard touchdown pass from Welch to Daion Haynes to reclaim a two-possession lead. 41-27
The Owls finished the third quarter strong with their first back-to-back scores of the night as Gest connected with Stone for a 75-yard touchdown then Knight scored from three yards out as Joshua battled back to tie things up at 41-41.
Lake Worth's Israel Cardenas connected on a 33-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in the third as the Frogs took a 44-41 lead into the final 12 minutes of play. And the offensive prowess — or poor defensive play — continued in the fourth.
Lake Worth took a 10-point lead on a 12-yard pass with 5:36 remaining, but the Owls weren't done yet as Gest and Stone hooked up on a 35-yard pass to pull to within 51-48.
But the Frogs re-established a two-possession lead on the next drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Welch to Kimble with 1:52 left.
Joshua appeared set to make it a three-point game again but Lake Worth's defense ended the Owls' comeback attempt as Polty returned an interception 73 yards for a touchdown and a 65-48 lead with only 1:16 left.
Stone found the end zone one more time on a 34-yard pass from Gest with 9 seconds left to round out the scoring.
Welch completed 14-of-22 passes for 247 yards — with six of his 14 completions going for touchdowns. Kimble was his primary target with eight receptions for 124 yards and four touchdowns. Tremaine Forrest led Lake Worth in rushing with 166 yards.
In addition to big nights from Gest, Stone and Knight, Davis had eight catches for 151 yards while Noah Smith added seven receptions for 72 yards.
The Owls open district play on Friday at Midlothian.
Sports Editor A.J. Crisp contributed to this report.