Grizzly defense stops Cavs

Published 12:07 am Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lakeland’s Anaquan Peterson is wrapped up on a punt return during the second half of Friday night’s Southeastern District game at Grassfield. Grassfield improved to 7-0 with a 27-13 win over Lakeland (5-2, 4-2).

CHESAPEAKE — Grassfield remained undefeated, holding Lakeland’s offense in check better than any Cavalier foe so far this season, with a 27-13 victory in front of a big Grizzly homecoming crowd Friday night.

Lakeland (5-2, 4-2) faced a tough assignment against the Grizzlies, the No. 3-rated team in the Eastern Region, Div. 6, and the challenge became larger before the Cavaliers even had the ball.

By the time the Cavs ran a play from scrimmage, they trailed 10-0, in part because of one of many Cavalier miscues on the evening.

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The Grizzlies jumped on top 0:18 into the game. Tailback Isaiah Harper broke through the right side of the Grizzly line and raced 54 yards for a touchdown on the first snap of the game.

On the ensuing kickoff, Lakeland’s Derrick Edghill tried to field a short, high kick. He was still bobbling the ball as he got hit. The Grizzlies recovered on the Cavalier 23.

Lakeland’s defense did well to hold the Grizzlies to a field goal try. Grassfield’s Ryan Woodcock made the kick from 35 yards out, making it 10-0 Grizzlies with 9:22 to go in the first period.

The first half didn’t get much better for the Cavaliers. Antonio Jefferson’s fumble, after catching a pass from Miles Goodman and running for what would’ve been a first down in Grassfield territory, cost Lakeland its next time with the ball.

Grassfield fullback Marcus Mitchell took a dive up the middle on a 3rd-and-5 play and ran 42 yards for a touchdown, making it 17-0 Grizzlies less than nine minutes into the game.

Even a big Grassfield mistake didn’t help the Cavaliers out. Marche Everett recovered a fumbled Grassfield handoff, giving Lakeland the ball on the Grizzly 20 midway through the second period.

But the Cavalier offense lost three yards in three plays, and Evan Worley’s 40-yard field goal attempt was blocked.

The Grizzles drove 71 yards during the last four minutes of the half and made a 25-yard field goal on the last play of the half for a 20-0 advantage.

Lakeland’s offense gained ground in spurts in the second half, yet penalties plus major losses on Lakeland running and passing plays, partly from Cavalier mistakes but mostly by excellent tackling by the Grizzlies, kept the Cavs from closing in.

Anaquan Peterson returned a Grassfield punt 30 yards down to the Grizzly 6 for the second Lakeland possession of the second half.

Raekwon Johnson powered through the line for a 5-yard touchdown run, bringing the Cavs within 20-6 with 3:43 left in the third period.

The Cavalier defense put the Grizzlies into a 3rd-and-8 on the next series of downs.

Grassfield finished the night with four pass attempts and 254 rushing yards. The Grizzlies called a change-up at the perfect time, however.

With a play-action fake and a rollout, quarterback Blake LaRussa passed to tight end Drew Burns, lobbing a pass over Lakeland’s last defender, for a 61-yard touchdown pass and a 27-6 Grassfield lead just after Lakeland got on the board.

In the closing minutes of the fourth, the Cavaliers drove 95 yards in five plays for their second touchdown.

Goodman, in his second game as the starting Cavalier quarterback after being called up from junior varsity, hit Antonio Jefferson for two catches. Antonio Perry added a 20-yard run. Goodman threw down the middle to Peterson for a 17-yard touchdown catch with 1:50 left.

Goodman finished 15-for-27 passing for 209 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Jefferson caught nine passes for 165 yards. Grassfield held Johnson, Lakeland’s main rusher, to 22 yards on nine carries.

The Cavaliers entered Friday No. 2 in the Div. 5 regional power ratings. The Cavs will try to resume their playoff push on their home field this coming Friday, hosting Great Bridge.