Cavs beat Western Branch for first time

Published 1:32 am Saturday, October 3, 2009

CHESAPEAKE – Lakeland defeated Western Branch for the first time in school history on Friday night, upsetting a big crowd on hand for Western Branch’s homecoming with a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter for a 14-7 win.

Freshman Rackwon Johnson ran for both Cavalier touchdowns, with the go-ahead score coming on a 31-yard draw play with 6:27 left in the game to cap an 80-yard drive by Lakeland that needed three long third-down conversions along the way.

The Cavaliers lost two fumbles and were hurt by eight penalties compared to only one flag on the Bruins, but one drive in the fourth quarter and two defensive stands in the final few minutes were enough for the victory.

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Starting on its own 20 with 11:18 to go, Lakeland quickly faced 3rd-and-5 and got a 6-yard run by Cedric Johnson.

Lakeland’s senior star running back didn’t score and didn’t have any huge gains on the night, but he carried 29 times for 129 yards to be the backbone of the Cavalier offense.

Lakeland got a 16-yard pass on a 3rd-and-6 play and an 18-yard pass play from Walter Boykins to Donavan Wright on 3rd-and-10 to move the ball to the WB 31. The next play was the touchdown run for Rackwon Johnson.

Lakeland had to fend off two Bruin drives in the final six minutes. The first was foiled on a 3rd-and-9 play at the Cavalier 31. Defensive end Marco Peterson came around the end, sacked Bruin quarterback Demonte Johnson from behind, forced a fumble and recovered the fumble.

Lakeland couldn’t get a first down and took less than two minutes off the clock. WB regained possession at its 43-yard line with 3:25 left.

The Bruins moved into Lakeland territory, but Wright picked off a long pass down the left sideline to give the Cavs the ball with 2:09 left.

Rackwon Johnson had his third big carry of the game to seal the outcome. Johnson picked up two yards on 3rd-and-1 to give Lakeland the first down it needed to run out the clock.

“This means everything. We’ve never beaten Western Branch, never in Lakeland history,” said Wright.

“We’ve wanted this for so long, when the chance comes, you just have to make a play,” said Wright about Lakeland’s big plays in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve never had a winning season. We’ve never been 4-1 before, so when you have the chance right there, it makes you want it more,” said Wright, a senior.

In the opening half, Lakeland outgained the Bruins 185-29 in total offense, but led only 7-0 at the break largely due to a fumble by Cedric Johnson and a fumble by Boykins.

The Cavaliers scored on their second possession of the game. The big play of the drive was a fake end around and 41-yard pass down the middle of the field from Boykins to Wright. Four plays later, Rackwon Johnson scored on a 12-yard run.

Western Branch tied the game on its first possession of the second half. Leandre Walker set up the Bruins with a 42-yard kick return to the Lakeland 32. Walker then got the call on three of four plays and finished the drive with a 17-yard touchdown run.

The Bruins had a good chance to take the lead early in the fourth quarter, but a 26-yard field goal attempt was spoiled by a bad snap. Lakeland’s march down the field came on the following possession.

Lakeland’s defense held the Bruins to 99 total yards. Justin Howell had two sacks. John Howard had two tackles for losses. Wright had two tackles for losses and a pass deflection to go with his two interceptions. Western Branch was 0-for-9 converting third-down plays.

Boykins was 6-for-15 passing for 121 yards with Wright catching three passes for 87 yards.

“We had a big loss last week and it meant a lot to come back off a loss and fight through it,” said Wright.

“If we are a family, no one can beat us,” said Wright.

Lakeland (4-1, 3-1) goes back on the road, to Indian River, next Friday night.