EAGLE LAKE — The start of the football season ended on a sad note.

Lake Region junior defensive back Josh Maze was taken to the hospital by ambulance after receiving a crushing hit with 7:24 remaining in a preseason kickoff classic against Fort Meade on Thursday at Thunder Field.

The game was called by officials with the Miners in control 42-12. Lake Region head coach Geoffrey Bangley was very concerned but did not want to comment on the injury without knowing any details, though many players knelt and prayed while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

The Miners rushed for 301 yards and five touchdowns and were on the verge of forcing a running clock when the injury occurred. Senior running back Jy’Keice McGowan led the charge with 106 yards rushing and three touchdowns, scoring on runs of 5, 29 and 56 yards.

“We played OK for the first game. We had too many penalties but we were able to run the ball,” said Fort Meade head coach Jemalle Cornelius, whose team was flagged seven times for 65 yards. “We did a fairly decent job up front though we had a lot of new guys. McGowan played well and ran the ball hard, and he has done that the last week or so. I just want to make sure he stays focused and on the right path.”

Fort Meade junior Jonathan Berrien was equally impressive, rushing for 109 yards and scoring on a 9-yard run with 5:54 left in the third quarter to push the Miners' lead to 36-6 lead.  Miners quarterback Jantsyn Music connected on one touchdown pass while throwing for 81 yards, it was a 46-yarder to Deandre Gibson.

Ta’Varius Howard capped the Fort Meade scoring after picking up an 11-yard touchdown run, plowing into the end zone with 9:08 left in the fourth quarter to put the Miners up 42-12.

“It was extremely humbling. Fort Meade came out here and took it to us. They showed us a lot of places we have to do some work in,” Bangley said. “They are a well-coached football team. We are still 0-0 and we are going to be OK. We will go watch the film, make corrections and we will be fine.”

Lake Region scored its second touchdown of the night when Jacob Sasnett hit Khristian Scott with a 2-yard touchdown pass with just over three minutes remaining in the third quarter to narrow the lead to 36-12. Breylin Smith put Lake Region on the board for the first time with 9:24 left in the third quarter on a 46-yard run to narrow the Fort Meade lead to 30-6.

“We got to get better in a lot of different areas. The defense gave up two (scores) late. We have to play all four quarters even though this game got cut short. But it wasn’t bad for the first game," Cornelius said.

The regular season begins Aug. 23. Lake Region travels to George Jenkins and Fort Meade will visit Hardee.

Bill Kemp can be reached at Bill.Kemp@theledger.com; follow him on Twitter @BillKempSports