Tigers still too tough for Lakeland

Published 11:50 pm Friday, October 16, 2009

With a 90-yard, six-minute-long drive ending a minute into the second period, Lakeland tied the game at 7-7 against Oscar Smith Friday night at Cavalier Park.

In the remaining 11 minutes before halftime, the Tigers showed why they are the defending state champions in Division 6 by scoring 27 straight points. Oscar Smith rolled on to a 48-13 victory for its 28th straight regular-season victory.

“My kids had never played in an atmosphere like this, where it was like a playoff game,” Lakeland head coach Glenwood Ferebee said. “Some of it can be chalked up to nervousness, but we can’t keep making the same mental errors every week.”

That goes double, triple or more for a contest against nationally-ranked Oscar Smith.

But, the game started out in great shape for the Cavaliers.

Lakeland held the Tigers to three plays and out on the first possession of the night, but could not do so again on the Tigers’ second possession.

Oscar Smith, led by University of Alabama-committed quarterback Phillip Sims, moved 65 yards in only five plays on their next possession. Sims capped the drive passing to Charlie Ricks for a 5-yard touchdown pass.

The Cavaliers answered though. A penalty on the kick return placed Lakeland on its own 10, but a 48-yard run by Cedric Johnson moved the Cavs into Oscar Smith territory.

Walter Boykins threw quick wide receiver screens to Donavan Wright for an 11-yard gain and to Jaquan Demiel for a 16-yard gain. Inside the Tiger 20, Lakeland went back to Johnson as he carried on seven of the next eight plays.

Johnson converted a fourth-and-1 by gaining three yards to the Tiger 5. On fourth-and-goal from three inches out, Johnson took a direct snap and powered up the middle to score. The extra point by Evan Worley evened the score at seven with 11:21 to go in the half.

The Tigers needed a good kick return and three plays to regain the lead. It was Sims to Ricks again, this time on a 28-yard pass, and OS led 14-7 only 1:13 later.

Joel Coleman scored on a 2-yard run to make it 21-7 Oscar Smith with 6:24 to go in the half.

Ricks intercepted a Boykins pass on the ensuing Lakeland possession and returned it 30 yards for his third touchdown of the night.

Taking over at their own 35 with 2:00 left in the half, the Tigers needed only 1:38 of the clock to score again. Sims found Quinta Funderburk on a 7-yard pass to make it 34-7. All four of the Tiger scoring drives in the half took two minutes or less.

“We started well and we were in the game, but then (Oscar Smith) got a couple big plays and we let our heads start to drop,” Ferebee said. “I wanted to play versus Oscar Smith on homecoming to make it like a playoff game. The kids had never been in that type of game before, and I wanted to see how we’d react.”

Even with the setback, Ferebee said he expects two wins in the final three regular season games to be good enough to put the Cavaliers into the playoffs in Division 5.

Johnson finished with 20 rushes for 95 yards. Boykins was 7-for-18 passing for 94 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, all three picks were by Ricks.

For the Tigers, Sims was 12-for-22 passing for 232 yards and four touchdowns. Ricks had five catches for 95 yards.

Lakeland (5-2, 4-2) plays at Deep Creek Friday at 7 p.m. Lakeland’s last two games are home dates against King’s Fork on Oct. 30 and Grassfield on Nov. 6.