Lakeland earns Suffolk football crown

Published 11:51 pm Friday, October 10, 2008

Most of the time, halftime adjustments aren’t so obvious everyone in the stadium notices. On Friday night at Lakeland, the Cavaliers led 20-12 at the half against Nansemond River. That wasn’t enough for head coach Glenwood Ferebee.

The Cavaliers came out for their homecoming game against their city rivals clad in spiffy Columbia blue jerseys. Coming back on the field for the second half, Lakeland was back to their usual dark blue home jerseys.

“Coach said we were playing like smurfs in the first half,” said senior Justin Kee, who plays defensive line and offensive tackle for Lakeland, “so he had us go back to our old uniforms.”

Email newsletter signup

“In the second half, we changed our intensity and played more aggressively.

“The last couple weeks we were playing hard, and we got back to that in the second half,” said Kee.

Regardless of what caused it, the Cavaliers turned the second half into a rout, outscoring the Warriors 27-0 for a 47-12 victory. The win gives Lakeland its first Suffolk title in the period, since 2004, that there have been three high schools in the city.

For the second straight week, Cedric Johnson powered the Cavalier offense. After 279 yards and four touchdowns a week ago against King’s Fork, Johnson rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns Friday night. Lakeland totaled 323 rushing yards as a team and Neil McKoy threw for three touchdowns.

The Warriors, looking for their first win in the Southeastern District, moved the ball well in the first half and could’ve found themselves even or ahead at the half if not for two turnovers.

An interception by JaQuan Demiel set up Lakeland’s first score. Setting up at the NR 43, four straight carries by Johnson finished with a 5-yard touchdown run. Jake Estienne’s extra point made it 7-0 Lakeland with 3:46 left in the first period.

On the next Warrior possession, freshman tailback Lamont Brown, who went on to 28 carries, 120 yards and a touchdown, led the Warriors to the Lakeland 20 before fumbling. Demiel was on the spot again to recover the fumble.

A 20-yard end around by Dontarius Boone and a 24-yard pass from McKoy to Demiel moved Lakeland down the field quickly. McKoy finished the drive connecting with Asaad Graham on a 20-yard touchdown pass.

The Warriors answered with more by Brown. Brown carried six times for 49 yards on a 10-play, 80-yard drive which ended with Steve Skinner sneaking in on a 1-yard dive. Lakeland blocked the extra point, making the score 14-6 Cavs with 5:29 left in the first half.

Lakeland answered in 10 seconds as Rufus Artis fielded a bouncing kickoff by NR and sprinted down the middle of the field for a touchdown on a 70-yard return.

The Warriors made it a one-possession game again with another methodical march down the field. Skinner and Brown connected on a swing pass for a 15-yard gain on a 3rd-and-14, moving the ball to the Lakeland 25. Three plays later, Brown scored on a 9-yard run, making it 20-12 with 33 seconds left in the half.

With changed jerseys, Lakeland held NR three-and-out on the first Warrior possession of the second half, Johnson then continued his big night.

Johnson carried three times, for gains of 33 yards, 11 yards, then a 9-yard touchdown, and Lakeland led 27-12 less than three minutes into the half.

After the Warriors put together 17 first downs in the first half, Lakeland held NR to two in the second half.

Lakeland put the game out of reach with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Artis scored on a 37-yard run. After a second interception by Demiel, the Cavs scored with McKoy passing to Donavan Wright on a 17-yard play. With 3:28 remaining, McKoy and Demiel combined for a 36-yard touchdown pass.

“It means a lot to the seniors,” said Kee about defeating both city rivals this season.

“With this being homecoming, and that we got the victory, that makes it more special for the seniors and for the whole team.”

Jalen Thrower added 77 yards on the ground for Nansemond River (1-6, 0-6). Skinner finished 4-for-14 passing for 44 yards and two interceptions. The Warriors host Oscar Smith next Friday.

McKoy was 9-for-15 passing for 111 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. In addition to Johnson’s 211 yards, Artis ran for 47 yards and Boone ran for 34 yards. Demiel had four receptions for 65 yards.

Lakeland (3-4, 3-3) goes to Deep Creek next Friday night.