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High school football: Lakeview Academy struggles in loss to Hebron Christian in home opener
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Lakeview Academy's Brandon Wilson runs the ball against Hebron Christian Academy on Friday, Oct. 4 in Gainesville. - photo by Bill Murphy

Lakeview Academy kept Hebron Christian Academy at bay for much of the first quarter in Friday’s region matchup at Jock Hornor Field, but it was a struggle the rest of the way. 

The host Lions forced a three and out after breaking up a few Hebron Christian passes on the visiting Lions first drive, but Hebron Christian scored on six consecutive possessions after that to easily put away Lakeview Academy 42-7. 

“Our kids competed,” Lions coach Matthew Gruhn said. “(Hebron Christian) is a very good football team. I think they’re one of the top 10 teams in the state, no doubt. We stood toe-to-toe the best we could. Proud of our guys.”

Brandon Wilson carried the ball 13 times for Lakeview Academy for 96 yards and a touchdown to highlight a mostly stagnant offensive attack that couldn’t get much going until late in the contest. 

Hebron Christian scored a touchdown late in the first quarter, early in the second quarter, and then picked up a 75-yard score five minutes before the halftime break. Lakeview Academy moved the ball better in the second half, but the hole was already too deep to dig out of, and the Lions dropped their fourth consecutive game to start the year. 

TACKLING WOES 

Lakeview Academy regularly found itself in the position to make defensive stops, but actually getting players on the ground was problematic throughout the game. 

Hebron Christian’s Demetrius Rogers broke several tackles at the line of scrimmage to set off his 75-yard score close to halftime, and Jaiden-Aavery Stowers shrugged off an attempted push out of bounds on an 80-yard kick return touchdown to start the second half. 

Gruhn said his team could certainly work on tackling technique, but added that Hebron Christian’s strong depth at the skill positions made Friday’s task trickier than the typical outing. 

“They’ve got some cats that can go, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “We’re putting ourselves in a good position. We’ve just got to keep working on putting ourselves in good positions and make the tackles.”

BRIGHT SPOT

Trailing 42-0 late in the third quarter, the Lions were looking for any positives to take into next week, and they got it in the form of a burst from Brandon Wilson.

Wilson bounced a handoff outside to the right and sprinted down the sideline for a 44-yard pickup that breathed life into the Lakeview Academy sideline. 

After carries from Bodie Blackwell and Jordan Thomas gave the Lions a first-and-goal at the 8-yard line, Wilson did the rest of the work on a run straight up the gut that gave Lakeview Academy its only score on the day. 

“Always good to end on that,” Gruhn said. “We’ll make sure we dwell on those things and just keep getting better.” 

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