Indians 25, Lions 21
Difference maker: Kobe Denton. Denton put the Indians on his back in the second half, totaling 84 yards and a pair of scores in the final two quarters. On a night where the passing game was lacking, Denton stood out among the many players who carried the ball in the game.
Stat that matters: 41 yards. In a game that totaled 469 yards of total offense, the quarterbacks combined for 41 yards in the air. Lakeview quarterback Thad Webb completed one pass for 36 yards and Towns County quarterback Russell Cox connected on one pass for 15 yards.
Difference maker: Dalton Bradley. Bradley returned three of the four kickoffs from Lakeview, covering 89 yards. His second return of the night, which followed Lakeview’s third touchdown, covered 48 yards and was stopped at the 50-yard line. The return helped set up a 47-yard field goal at the halftime horn.
Lakeview Academy led the entire game against Towns County — except when it mattered.
The Lions used all of their offense in the first half, then watched Towns County rally for a 25-21 win Friday night at Jock Horner Field.
With the loss, the Lions fell to 1-2, 0-1. Towns County picked up its first win to improve to 1-2, 1-0.
Lakeview senior Avonte Gober scored the first touchdown of the night on a 30-yard scamper. Joe Gradridge and Brannon Browner both added rushing scores in the first half for the Lions.
Junior running back Kobe Denton posted the only offensive score for the Indians in the first half on a 1-yard rush.
After a 48-yard kickoff return from Dalton Bradley, Towns County added a 47-yard field goal from the leg of Shea Underwood as the halftime horn sounded.
After holding a 21-10 lead at halftime, the Lions watched as the Indians scored 15 unanswered points.
Junior running back Kobe Denton shined for Towns County on a night where passing was a rare sight. Denton posted a 40-yard stat line in the first half. He more than doubled that number in the second half.
Neither team posted a point in the third quarter, but the Indians killed the clock in the period.
The visitors started the quarter with the ball before going three-and-out. An interception from Lakeview quarterback Thad Webb off the hands of his receiver got the ball back for Towns County. The interception turned the ball over with 6:47 left on the clock in the third quarter.
The Indians held onto the ball, marching down field without throwing a single pass, through the end of the quarter.
After 1:58 ticked off the clock, the Indians put the ball in the hands of Denton for the 5-yard touchdown run.
Down 21-16, Towns County decided to go for two. Junior quarterback Russell Cox called his own number and scampered across the goal line.
The final score for the Indians, a game-winning, 64-yard run by Denton with 1:40 remaining on the clock, silenced a loud crowd of Lakeview fans.
“It’s a game and things happen. They made a play and we didn’t,” Lakeview Coach Matthew Gruhn said.
Denton finished the game with 124 yards and three scores on 11 carries. His 124 yards contributed to the game total of 428 rushing yards in the contest.
For Gruhn, running the ball was the plan coming into the contest.
“It was working, so why go away from it?” he said. “We kind of relied on that coming in, but it was working, so we kept going with it. We felt like they couldn’t stop it.”
Webb threw six times in the contest, completing one to Brandon Ragone for 36 yards. Cox also completed just one pass of his three attempts. His pass covered 15 yards to Andy Chambers.
Still, Gruhn says there isn’t really a play that he can look back and say “what if” about ... except for one.
“Of course their long touchdown,” he said. “We had him. We had him a few times and he just made a play. Other than that, it was a hard-fought game.”
Lakeview still owns the series lead against the Indians 5-4, but the Lions have now lost the last three games in the matchup.
Gruhn said he’s happy to have an off-week next week to deal with some minor injuries before getting back to action Sept. 25 against Providence Christian.
As for what the Lions need to work on in the next two weeks before meeting Providence Christian, Gruhn said it’s the little things.
“We had a missed block here and a missed tackle there,” Gruhn said. “It’s just the little things that add up over time and end up costing you.”