Cavs’ best season to date ends

Published 9:07 pm Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lakeland High School (7-6) was defeated by Phoebus High School 21-0 in 3A VHSL regional championship, ending the Cavs’ best season to date.

The Cavs’ impressive season ended last Saturday after the team lost to the Phantoms. Lakeland was on the road for the first time all postseason but couldn’t get the win to advance to the state semifinal.

After averaging 44 points in their previous two playoff games combined, the Cavs went scoreless against the Phantoms. It was evident Phoebus’s plan Saturday was to limit the Cavs rushing attack. They were able to get that done, as senior running back Damontra Milteer finished with a season-low 39 rushing yards. The Cavs couldn’t get much going through the air, either, as sophomore quarterback Tyquan Holloman threw for 11 yards and two interceptions.

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Neither team had a good day offensively, but it ultimately came down to Phoebus just making more plays. Both teams had strong defensive performances, with the Cavs defense holding up for much of the game until the fourth quarter. The Cavs forced three Phantoms turnovers, including one interception and two fumbles lost.

“When we had opportunities to make plays, we didn’t take advantage of them,” Cavs coach Kevin Knight said. “We struggled at times offensively. Phoebus did a good job with their game plan wanting to limit Damontra. I think our defense was solid for most of the whole day.”

At halftime, the game was 7-0. Phoebus had run 29 plays for 118 yards to Lakeland’s 19 plays for 32 yards. The Cavs rushed for 27 yards and passed for five. In the second half, the Cavs remained scoreless, only totaling 103 yards of offense.

Despite the regional championship outcome, the Cavs have plenty to be proud of. For the first time in school history, the Cavs hosted not one but two home playoff games. To go along with hosting the playoff games, the Cavs won two straight playoff games for the first time in history and reached the regional championship — another first. This was the Cavs’ first winning season since 2012.

Knight made it clear to his guys not to hold their heads down after the game. He reminded his team of how much they accomplished this season.

“I’m proud of my guys, and I’m proud of this staff,” Knight said. “The seniors set a precedent for the future. I told those guys you won more games this season than you did your whole career here.”

“It was a great year,” Milteer said. “We made school history and were able to play two home (playoff) games.”

The Cavs coaches and players were also thankful for the support shown by the fans during the whole season, including throughout the postseason. Lakeland seniors were glad to have left their mark on the program, with some thinking the success this year will make those returning hungrier.

“This was a great experience from offseason workouts to the regional championship,” Cavs senior Garrett Whitley said. “The seniors hadn’t had a successful season in our careers until now. This last game only made the underclassmen hungrier to finish the mission of winning a state championship and building a successful program. I’m blessed to go out as a winner.”

For next year, the Cavs will take this regional championship berth and build on it.

“We are losing some good guys, but we are also returning some good guys,” Knight said. “I’m looking forward to the work ethic and everything we are going to do in the offseason. All these guys matured over the year. It’s like they see something and they work for it. They had goals, and they worked for them.”

(No. 3) Lakeland 0 0 0 0 — 0

(No.1) Phoebus 7 0 7 7 — 21

Lakeland Stats:

37 rushes for 97 yards

11 total passing yards