Fork edges Lakeland in marathon, 50-42

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 12, 2005

King’s Fork didn’t defeat Lakeland Friday night. They outlasted them.

In a shootout that was the farthest cry from the Cavaliers’ 53-0 rout last year, Dan Miller rushed for a school-record 250 yards and six touchdowns and Sam Parker pulled down an interception in double-overtime as the visiting Bulldogs grabbed their first-ever Southeastern District victory, taking a 50-42 win that left Lakeland winless for the season.

The Bulldogs, who also beat Norview and Wilson this year, were ahead 14-0 before Lakeland even touched the ball. Parker dribbled an onside kick down the right side of the field to start the game, and Josh Brown fell on it at the Lakeland 40. Dan and Angelo Beale rushed to the 24. On first down, Shaka Miller fumbled the snap, and Dan scooped it up, motored around the left end, and slipped down the sideline to score. The extra point failed, leaving Fork up 6-0.

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Parker wasn’t through, this time recovering his own kick at the Cavalier 43. Dan, Beale and Vernon Jackson carried on the next five plays, and Shaka hit Jackson at the eight. Dan ran around the right end, crashed into a wall of defenders and toppled across the goal line. Shaka ran for the conversion, upping a jubilant Fork team to 14-0.

For the Cavaliers, it was time to strike back. Jeffrey Cook returned the kickoff – Fork finally booted one deep – 29 yards to the Cavalier 36. The Bulldog defense held, but roughed the kicker on fourth down, giving Lakeland a first down at its own 44. Dontae’ Myrick hit a wide-open Cook over the middle, and Cook hauled all the way to the Fork two. Rufus Artis charged over the line for the score.

Shaka fumbled at the Fork nine on the next drive, and James Watson fell on the ball for Lakeland. Three plays later, Myrick hit Cook for an 11-yard score, and the game was knotted.

Dan churned out 45 yards on the next drive to give Fork a first down at the Cavalier 13, but Lakeland knocked the Bulldogs back three yards over the next four plays. However, J.R. Tennyson fell on a botched Cavalier fumble at the five, and Dan rumbled in for a 20-14 lead to end the half.

On the second half’s first drive, Fork punted for the first and only time all night – and Cook returned it 46 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown. He caught a pass from Myrick on the next play, and Lakeland was ahead for the first time, 21-20.

It lasted 32 seconds. Dan returned the kickoff 30 yards to the Fork 47, and a facemask penalty moved the Bulldogs to the Cavalier 43. Dan charged through the right side of the line, doubled back over the center, and outran the Cavalier defense all the way to the endzone. Beale got the two-pointer to go back ahead, 28-21.

Myrick came right back, hitting Artis and Cook for 17 yards on the next two plays to reach the Bulldog 39. He rushed to the 10, then found Cook in a crowded corner of the endzone to tie the score.

Kevin Pittman scooped up the kickoff and returned it 21 yards to the Fork 43, and Beale and Dan combined for 30 yards over the next two plays. Beale churned out another 15 to reach the Cavalier 12, and Dan carried in for the score. Shaka hit Beale for the two-pointer, going up 36-28 with three minutes left in the third quarter.

A Lakeland drive stalled at the Fork 35, but Watson recovered another fumble at the 30, and Myrick eventually ran for an eight-yard score and lobbed the conversion to Cook with 10:22 to go.

For the first time all night, Lakeland appeared to be in control. Cook intercepted a pass at the Lakeland 27 and returned it all the way to the Fork 38, and a personal foul gave the Cavaliers a first down at the 22. Myrick carried for nine yards over the next two plays, but a touchdown pass to Cook was nullified by a holding penalty, pushing Lakeland back to the 37. Kyle Smith broke through to sack Myrick at the 44, and Pittman leaped highest for a lob and intercepted it at the five, returning it to the Fork 30 with 4:47 to go.

Beale and Dan again went to work, but neither could find a way through the Cavalier defense, and Shaka overthrew Pittman and fumbled on the last play of regulation.

In high school overtime, a team starts at the 10-yard-line and has four plays to score. Myrick misthrew on first down, but ran three yards on the next play and then tossed to Cook for the score. The extra point missed, leaving Lakeland ahead 42-36. Beale got two yards and Dan did the rest on the next drive to tie the score, but Cook broke through to stop Dan on the extra point, heading for another extra period.

Fork started off, and Pittman charged up the middle for six yards. Shaka followed a line of blockers through the left side of the line for the score. Dan bolted through for the extra point, leaving things up a Fork defense that had been subpar all night.

A false start penalty pushed Lakeland back five yards, but the Cavaliers made it back to the eight over the next two plays. On third down, Myrick headed toward the right sideline, and lobbed a pass toward Cook. Pittman faded back, leaped backwards, and picked it off just inside the sideline to give his squad the game.

&uot;It’s all about my team, baby,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m not even thinking about my body, just about my team.&uot;

jason.norman@suffolknewsherald.com