Cavaliers go to 4-0
Published 10:51 pm Monday, September 26, 2011
It wasn’t an easy night for Lakeland kicker Evan Worley, or any of the Cavaliers on the gridiron Monday night against visiting Western Branch.
Led by Raekwon Johnson’s two second-half touchdown runs and sealed with a 25-yard boot by Worley with 0:10 left, the Cavs did enough for a 26-23 win over the Bruins.
Lakeland defensive lineman Craig Taylor intercepted a screen pass giving the Cavs the ball with 0:48 left. Worley redeemed himself from two missed extra points and a missed field goal with a 25-yard field goal for the winning points.
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Minutes after the final whistle, celebrating the dramatic win or the Cavs’ 4-0 record was squashed by Cavalier head coach Glenwood Ferebee.
The Cavaliers have a trip to Oscar Smith, and the chance to go up against the Tigers’ 40-game Southeastern District winning streak, but on three days of rest.
Lakeland got past the Bruins while still missing starting quarterback, Zach Super, from an injury suffered early in last Friday night’s win at Maury.
Johnson moved from running back to quarterback. The 5-foot-8, 240-pound bruising back still carried plenty of the Cavalier offense with his legs, going for 219 yards on the ground and touchdown runs of 52 and 53 yards.
Johnson and the Cavaliers mixed in enough passing as well. Johnson went 12-for-24 passing for 103 yards. The Cavs got a key play on the ground and through the air in their last-minute drive to get the victory.
“He’s stepped up for us,” said two-way lineman Chris Rodgers about Johnson. “To move from running back to quarterback, I mean, he’s already stepped up for us before this, but that just tells you he’s a major athlete.”
Lakeland was closing in on the go-ahead points, driving from its own 43 down to the Bruin 20 as the clock went under a minute.
A shotgun snap slipped through Johnson’s hands. A Bruin recovered the loose ball and took it to the Cavalier 27. Wide receiver Derrick Edghill raced down the play and made a game-saving tackle.
On the next snap, Taylor intercepted a screen pass in the middle of the field, giving Lakeland the ball on its 40 with 0:48 left.
Johnson took the ball on an option play, powered through the line and cut down the left sideline for a 34-yard gain.
Facing 3rd-and-10 from the Bruin 26, Johnson lobbed a pass angled toward the right sideline. Anaquan Peterson fought a Bruin for position and cradled a one-handed catch at his side, falling down with the ball on the Bruin 7 with 0:17 left.
Despite having gone 1-for-4 kicking on the night, Worley came on and sent a kick high through the uprights to clinch Lakeland’s comeback.
Western Branch led 10-0 less than four minutes into the contest.
A 33-yard field goal by Worley were Lakeland’s only points until the Cavs marched 12 plays and 85 yards, ending with Antonio Jefferson’s 2-yard touchdown run with 0:39 left in the half for a 16-9 halftime score.
Johnson romped through a big hole opened by the Cavalier line and went for a 52-yard touchdown run on Lakeland’s first possession of the second half, but a hooked kick by Worley left Western Branch leading 16-15. Lakeland’s next drive ended with a missed 38-yard field goal.
The Cavalier defense kept holding the Bruins and Lakeland got the ball near midfield early in the fourth period.
On the second play of the drive, Johnson and the Lakeland line came through again. Johnson went 53 yards untouched into the end zone. Johnson passed to Jefferson for two points and a 23-16 Cavalier lead.
The Bruins answered a few plays later with a 43-yard touchdown pass and a kick for a 23-23 score with 8:00 left.
The sides traded punts, then the crazy turnovers on back-to-back snaps, before Worley’s field goal.
Peterson rushed six times for 48 yards and caught five passes for 60 yards. Running back Antonio Perry rushed for 64 yards.
“We had to keep playing. There are four quarters in a game and it’s not over until the clock hits zero,” Rodgers said.
“Our coaches told us now, even though it’s a short week, it’s a business week,” Rodgers said about the date with Oscar Smith on Friday.