Cavalier offense falters in preseason opener

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 17, 2002

The Lakeland High School offense never got out of first gear on Thursday evening, managing only 47 total yards in their 19-7 loss to host Landstown in Virginia Beach. Luckily for the Cavaliers, the game was a preseason benefit game, held to raise money for the Virginia High School League and both schools.

The Eagle defense completely shut down the Cavalier passing attack, as Lakeland quarterback Travis Miller’s only completion was a screen pass to Tavaris Mitchell that lost five yards. Landstown also sacked Miller three times, and stole a pair of fumbles.

The first play of the game might have been a dark foreshadow, as the Lakeland defense jumped offsides. Landstown moved methodically down the field for the first few minutes, clipping off about three and four yards at a time. Then quarterback Terry Mitchell hit a wide-open Percy Harvin on the left sideline, and Harvin sprinted 33 yards to the Lakeland 22 before he was bumped out of bounds. Two plays later, a 13-yard run by Davione Simmons gave the Eagles a first-and-goal at the five, and Tyree Watkins carried the ball across at the 5:50 mark.

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Miller fumbled on second down at his own 27, but Charles Byrum stole the ball back from Mitchell on the next play. Both teams went three-and-out, and the Cavaliers got the ball back with seconds left in the first quarter. James Spruill, making his onfield debut for Lakeland after transferring from Churchland High School, ran six yards as the whistle sounded, and Denzel Mack dashed for eight to give Lakeland its first first down. But the Eagles shoved the Cavaliers two yards back over the next three plays, and Lakeland had to punt.

The Cavalier defense came through, as Cornelius Copeland yanked the ball out of Watkins’ hands on second down, giving Lakeland the ball at the Landstown 38. But a blown pitch-out pushed the Cavaliers back 20 yards, an auspicious beginning for new quarterback Javon Godwin. After Daniel Copeland was snapped for no gain, Landstown was called for pass interference at midfield, giving Lakeland an automatic first down. Copeland and Ramon Faltz ran the ball down to the Landstown 22, and an offsides penalty bumped them five yards forward.

But the Eagles stopped Copeland and Faltz on the next two plays, and Godwin’s third-down pass fell incomplete. On fourth, he tried a shot to the endzone, but Tavarius Crocker was called for pass interference, and the Cavaliers had another free first down. Faltz made it in on the next play, tying the score.

Lakeland received the second half kickoff, but was pushed back 12 yards, and punter Chris Ascroft boomed the ball to the Landstown 48, where Anthony Parker ran it back eight yards. On the next play, Watkins burst through the Lakeland line, and didn’t look back until he crossed the goal line. The point-after failed, but the Eagles now had a 13-7 lead.

Their defense dominated the Cavaliers for the remainder, as Lakeland managed only eight yards in the final 21 minutes. After the Eagles stripped the ball from Miller on first down at the Lakeland 9 at the two-minute mark, Mitchell charged through the middle for the game’s final score.