Mistakes cost Cavs the winPublished 12:52am Saturday, October 13, 2012
Lakeland almost came close enough to taste a victory over undefeated visiting Grassfield on homecoming night, but they were instead stung by a 27-22 loss.
“We left some plays out there, they left some plays out there, but overall, it was a competitive game and I think we should have won,” Cavaliers head coach Glenwood Ferebee said.
Grassfield held a 7-3 lead entering the third quarter when things started getting rolling offensively. A 54-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage for the Grizzlies led to a three-yard touchdown run by junior running back Joshua McNair.
Lakeland responded on the very next play. Senior wide receiver Antonio Jefferson returned the kickoff to Grassfield’s 41-yard line, then followed it up with a 41-yard touchdown run.
Grizzlies senior wide receiver Paris Smith hauled in an 11-yard scoring toss from junior quarterback Blake LaRussa about three minutes later to make it 21-9.
Then all of the Cavaliers’ chief weapons went to work. Lakeland went from a second-and-long on their own 32-yard line to the Grassfield 38 on a 30-yard pass from senior quarterback Zach Super to Jefferson.
Senior running back Raekwon Johnson started to take over the game with devastating runs up the middle that set up his own five-yard touchdown run, which made it 21-16 with a little more than three minutes to go in the third quarter. Johnson finished with 20 carries for 107 yards.
Then came one of the few mental mistakes that Ferebee felt was the difference. Grizzlies junior running back Isaiah Harper caught a flare pass out of the backfield on the first play of their drive and took it 80 yards for the score.
“The outside linebackers were coached up to peel off when he flares,” Ferebee explained. “(Jaquan Yulee) kept going to the quarterback and (LaRussa) dumped it right over his head and there wasn’t nobody there (to stop Harper). So, little small things like that. If we don’t do that, maybe we get a sack. (Then) they never get that 80-yard play.”
Harper also had nine carries for 128 yards.
The teams traded possessions and then the Cavaliers marched down the field with eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter. They used a combination of Johnson runs and Super passes to Jefferson, junior wideout Markese Wright and Johnson, culminating in an eight-yard touchdown run by Johnson.
The two-point conversion failed with 3:39 remaining in the game. The Cavs would have to come up with a big defensive stop or generate a turnover. After gaining yards on a quarterback sneak, LaRussa coughed up the football, setting Lakeland up at the Grassfield 36-yard line with 2:36 to go.
Lakeland found themselves with a fourth-and-seven three plays later when Super completed an eight-yard pass to Jefferson that was originally ruled an interception and then ruled as a first down.
The Cavaliers drove all the way to the Grassfield three-yard line when a Lakeland holding penalty and Grassfield personal foul offset, but ended up putting the Cavs back on the 25-yard line.
The Grizzlies defense forced an incompletion, blocked a pass and finally intercepted Super with 23 seconds to go.
Despite the end result, Ferebee was encouraged by his team’s overall performance, particularly Super who finished 17 for 21 for 192 yards.
“The goal is to get to the playoffs, regardless of what the record is and to be peaking at the end of the year,” Ferebee said. “This is Zach Super’s best game of the year, and that’s the Super that we’ve been looking for. He took his knee brace off tonight and he said, ‘Coach, I just want to let it all out.’ And that’s what he did and that’s big going into these next four games.”
Lakeland (4-3, 3-3) faces Great Bridge on the road next Friday night.