Fans that attended Jock Horner Field in Gainesville on Friday were treated to a thrilling game as Hebron Christian came away with a hard-fought 28-19 victory over Lakeview Academy.
Coach Matthew Gruhn's team didn't quit even after being down 28-13 late in the third quarter. The Lions closed to within 28-19 with 1:24 left in the game and even recovered the onside kick, giving their offense the ball 30 yards from scoring again.
However, Hebron's defense stood tall and forced an interception to ice the game.
"I thought we played very, very well. I thought we competed," Gruhn said. "And that quarterback (Christian Davila) made some plays. I thought we were real close."
The first half was a defensive battle as both teams traded possessions and punts. Lakeview scored first as Nick Drury made his presence known first on defense as he intercepted a Hebron pass.
Then on offense two plays after his interception, he scored the first points of the game as Drury found some room up the middle broke through several tacklers and scored from 31 yards out to make the score 7-0 with 3:32 left in the 2nd quarter.
Hebron responded quickly as Davila completed a 49-yard pass to get the ball to the Lakeview 8-yard line. From there, Davila punched the ball in the end zone to make the score 7-7 at the half.
Lakeview's defense forced two turnovers in the first half, an interception by Drury and a fumble recovery by Trevor Price. It added a blocked field goal at the beginning of the second quarter.
The defensive battle turned into an offensive one as both teams put up lots of yards and points in the second half. Hebron scored first taking advantage of good field position after Lakeview went for it on fourth down from its 44-yard line on the first possession. Five plays later, Davila found a wide-open Paul Stinespring for a 19-yard touchdown pass making the score 14-7 Hebron with 7:20 remaining in the third quarter.
Lakeview responded with an 11-play, 65-yard drive, capped by another touchdown run by Drury, this time from 12 yards out on fourth-and- 1.
Hebron's Davila found the end zone again on the ensuing possession from 31 yards, putting his team up 21-13 with 1:17 left in the quarter.
After another Davila touchdown, his third rushing touchdown on the night, Drury and quarterback Jackson Wells carried the load for Lakeview on the next drive. They put together a 15-play, 80-yard drive, with the duo combining for 12 rushes on the drive.
Wells found the end zone from 3 yards out to make the score 28-19 Hebron with 1:24 left in the game. The drive took 6 minutes and 35 seconds off the clock, which lead to the onside kick recovery and ensuing interception for the Lakeview offense.
"It was a great game all the way around," Gruhn said. "Both teams fought hard and didn't quit. Basically we were down to 22 players and we didn't give up."
Drury finished the night with 154 yards on 30 carries to go with two touchdowns. Wells added 42 yards rushing with one score and 42 yards passing.
For Hebron, Davila led the way with 130 yards rushing with 3 rushing scores and 164 yards passing and one touchdown.
NOTE: The most touching moment of the night came at the opening coin toss as young Luke Harris was an honorary captain for the Lions. He was recently diagnosed with leukemia, and he and his brother, Brock, earned the honor of standing with the Lakeview captains during the toss.