Bulldogs stun city rival

Published 12:19 am Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday night at Lakeland, one football team had the goal of making the playoffs in front of it and the other team had nothing to play for but the pride of playing against a city rival.

For King’s Fork, pride was enough as the Bulldogs upset Lakeland 7-6. The win is the second of the year for King’s Fork (2-7, 2-6) and could prove very costly for Lakeland (6-3, 5-3) in the hunt for an Eastern Region playoff spot.

“We remembered last year, when we were trying to make a run at the playoffs and (Lakeland) came in and whooped us. We didn’t whoop them tonight, but it was good enough,” said King’s Fork head coach Joe Jones.

As the score suggests, King’s Fork’s defense carried the day. Lakeland’s final possession of the night, starting at the Cavalier 44 with 1:15 remaining, lasted one play as Dion Bivens intercepted a pass over the middle by Lakeland quarterback Walter Boykins.

The Bulldogs held Lakeland’s standout running back, Cedric Johnson, to 50 yards on 18 carries. KF’s defense stopped Lakeland on 5 of 6 fourth-down plays and intercepted Boykins twice. In the second half, KF’s defense was just as strong even without safety/linebacker Dominique Patterson.

Patterson, who’s also KF’s main running back and who has committed to a scholarship offer from Virginia Tech, suffered a hip injury late in the first half and missed the second half.

In the first quarter, Lakeland moved into KF territory twice, but had both drives stopped on downs. Lakeland had an incomplete pass on 4th-and-4 at the KF 35 to end one possession, then on a 4th-and-8 at the KF 32, a pass by Boykins hit Donavan Wright in his facemask, bounced up and was intercepted by KF’s Brian Johnson.

Both teams were plagued by penalties all night long. Lakeland wound up committing 14 penalties for 117 yards lost and KF was flagged 13 times for 95 yards. The Cavaliers had one touchdown called back in the first half. King’s Fork had three plays that went for touchdowns called back for penalties.

“I can’t remember the last time I’ve been a part of a game that a team had three touchdowns called back,” said Jones.

Late in the second period, a few plays after what would’ve been a 26-yard touchdown run by Patterson was waved off, KF quarterback Matt Hommell scrambled around the right end and barely got to the front corner of the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown run.

Hommell’s run capped an excellent drive for the sophomore quarterback. Starting from the KF 25, Hommell completed 5 of 6 passes for 47 yards and rushed three times for 16 yards. The extra point, by Devin Pisani, was good and proved to be critical.

Midway through the third period, KF’s second possession of the second half ended when an option pitch by Hommell went awry and Lakeland’s Eric Hargrove recovered the fumble at the KF 15.

Three plays later, Johnson took a shotgun snap and powered through the line on a 2-yard touchdown run.

On this night though, even the extra point went wrong in a costly way for the Cavaliers. After a false start penalty made the kick a 25-yard extra point, Evan Worley missed the kick wide left, leaving a 7-6 Bulldog lead.

The Cavaliers had three possessions in the fourth quarter. The Cavs moved from their own 5 to midfield before being held on downs.

Lakeland’s defense did its best to give their offense another good chance, as on the first play of KF’s ensuing possession, Laray Kindred fumbled on a carry up the middle and Devante Dukes recovered the ball for the Cavs.

Lakeland couldn’t convert a 4th-and-9 play at the KF 29 with 2:45 remaining, but got the ball back, at the Cavalier 44, after a Bulldog punt with 1:15 left. King’s Fork, with Bivens’ interception, didn’t need to get to fourth down to get one last defensive stop.

Hommell finished 8-for-15 passing for 101 yards. Freshman Charles Clark carried eight times for 23 yards, all in the second half. Donta Steward caught two passes for 46 yards.

“When Dominique went out, we had guys step up on offense and defense who took his place and did the job,” said Jones.

“This one is so sweet because of the circumstances. We’ve been so close all year,” said Jones.

King’s Fork hosts Nansemond River on Friday night and the Bulldogs can win the city title. A Nansemond River win would mean all three Suffolk schools would finish 1-1 versus each other.

Lakeland hosts Grassfield (7-2, 7-1) on Friday in a game that will likely be critical to the Cavaliers’ postseason hopes.