Cavs defense swarms Hornets

Published 12:28 am Saturday, October 24, 2009

CHESAPEAKE – Much of the game wasn’t a thing of beauty for either Lakeland or Deep Creek on Friday night at Deep Creek’s Nathan T. Hardee Stadium, but the final score was perfect for the Cavaliers. Lakeland took a big step toward an Eastern Region playoff berth with a 20-0 victory over the Hornets.

Lakeland’s defense played a major role in making the game an ugly one for the Deep Creek offense. Lakeland forced seven turnovers, four interceptions and three fumbles, along with a blocked punt and four sacks, to blank the Hornets.

“Basically, we knew they wanted to run the ball a lot. We had to keep their backs in the backfield and mostly it was just a team effort,” said Lakeland senior defensive lineman John Howard. Howard was one of many individual standouts for the Cavalier defense. Howard had an interception, two sacks and two more tackles for losses.

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Deep Creek’s defense held its own for much of the night. Through the first half, Lakeland started possessions on the Hornet 26, 31 and 6-yard lines, but couldn’t turn any of the chances into points.

Evan Worley missed field goal attempts from 36 and 22 yards out and two more Cavalier possessions in the first half were stopped on downs.

Lakeland’s defense kept the Hornets pinned down though. Midway through the second quarter, a combination of Deep Creek penalties, then defensive end Dakota Warren stopping a Hornet reverse for a 22-yard loss on a third-down play, forced a punt and gave the Cavs the ball on the Hornet 25.

Lakeland kept four of its next five plays on the ground and on Cedric Johnson’s third carry of the drive, he scored on a 7-yard run through the middle. A successful kick by Worley made it 7-0 Cavs with 3:12 left before halftime.

The Cavaliers held the Hornets to 10 rushing yards and 21 passing yards in the first half. The second half was equally one-sided.

Deep Creek’s first possession of the second half ended with Eric Hargrove intercepting a Cameron Stewart pass. Hargrove’s pick set up Lakeland at its own 37 and the Cavs’ only long drive of the night came at a good time.

Most of the drive was one play, Walter Boykins passing to Jaquan Demiel as he cut over the middle, then a long run by Demiel for a 61-yard play to the Hornet 4. On 3rd-and-goal at the DC 1, Boykins passed to Donavan Wright as he cut through the back of the end zone. Lakeland led 14-0 with 5:01 to go in the third period.

Deep Creek’s last six possessions of the night ended with, in order, an interception by Howard, a fumble recovery by Justin Howell, an interception by Wright, Hargrove’s second interception of the game, a blocked punt by Marco Peterson and the final horn sounding.

Wright’s pick set up Lakeland’s offense on the Hornet 7 and Boykins and Demiel connected for a 7-yard pass to put the Cavs up 20-0 with 7:35 left in the game.

Johnson carried 16 times for 55 yards. Boykins was 8-for-22 passing for 106 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Deep Creek finished with 57 passing yards and 28 rushing yards. The Hornets were 2-for-14 on third downs against the Cavalier defense.

“All-in-all, it was just a team effort and we know defense wins championships,” said Howard.

“We’ll celebrate when we win the playoffs. Right now, we’re just going to rest and on Monday, get back to work,” said Howard.

Lakeland (6-2, 5-2) improves to 5-0 on the road this season. The Cavs were sixth in the Eastern Region, Division 5 power ratings heading into Friday night. Eight schools make the postseason. The Cavaliers host King’s Fork (1-7, 1-6) on Friday and host Grassfield (6-2, 6-1) to finish the regular season on Nov. 6.