It wasn’t always pretty for the Lakeview Academy football team in Friday night’s contest against King’s Ridge Christian, but when it mattered most, the Lions got the job done, pulling out a 14-6 victory.
The Tigers brought the ball all the way down to the Lakeview Academy 12-yard line with less than a minute to play, threatening to send the game to overtime, but a strip sack from Lakeview’s Luke Cooper turned the ball back over to the Lions and finished off a hard fought win on a night of inconsistent play from both teams.
“We were very inconsistent,” Lakeview Academy coach Lee Shaw said after the game. “It was two very evenly matched teams, and just kind of a slobberknocker kind of night. I’m just proud of our guys to find a way to win.”
Quarterback Jesse Whiting led the way offensively for the Lions, completing 9 of 16 passing attempts for 83 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and adding 81 yards and a score on the ground on 11 carries.
Whiting got the scoring started with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Landon Hanes late in the second quarter to close out a defensive slugfest of a first half.
King’s Ridge answered with a 1-yard scoring plunge from quarterback Clay Harrell midway through the third quarter, but the ensuing extra point was blocked, preserving the Lakeview Academy lead.
The Lions extended that lead with about six minutes left in the fourth frame with another score from Whiting, this one a 13-yard scramble up the middle.
The Tigers looked like they would at least get a chance at tying the game late when Harrell connected on a 13-yard pass to Fisher Edwards that set King’s Ridge up on the Lakeview Academy 12-yard line, but Cooper got to Harrell on the very next play, giving the ball back to the Lions and putting an end to the contest.
SPECIAL TEAMS MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
Big plays were difficult to come by on either side of the ball for both teams Friday night, but Lakeview Academy made a pair of them on special teams downs. First, in the second quarter, the Lions downed a perfect punt from Whiting on the King's Ridge 2-yard line, backing the Tigers up into their own end zone. The poor field position eventually led to a shanked punt from King’s Ridge that gave Lakeview Academy possession inside their opponent’s 30-yard line and set up the first Lions score of the day.
Then, Lakeview Academy blocked a King’s Ridge extra point attempt in the third quarter that preserved the lead, a lead the Lions would never relinquish.
“That’s why it’s called special teams,” Shaw said after the game. “We work on it hard every week, and special teams will win the game for you.”
CONTAINING THE BIG PLAYS
Though King’s Ridge ran 50 offensive plays and got four different running backs plus the quarterback involved in the rushing attack, the Tigers longest play of the night went for just 13 yards.
King’s Ridge tried a little bit of everything to throw off the Lakeview Academy defense, running trap plays, quarterback draws and end arounds to confuse the Lions players, but all the trickery never led to a single big offensive play.
Shaw said the biggest key to stopping the Tigers offense was to always keep the ball in front of the defense and not get lazy and let up a big play.
“Just not letting them have the big plays is the biggest thing,” he said. “Just forcing them to make long drives and get the ball back in our offense's hands. Our defense played really well tonight.”