By Marco Clark, exclusive to the Times
Friday night the Gators were tasked with facing 4A power St. Michael Warriors. Picking up action in the first quarter, the Warriors received the kick-off and advanced the ball to the Gators 51 yard line. St. Michael’s Cole Garafola received the hand-off taking it for 49 yards for the first touchdown of the game, the extra point was good making the score 7-0 Warriors. Lakeview received the kick-off, but the wet weather played a part in the Gators receiver fumbling the ball giving possession back to St. Michael. Garafola received a hand-off again on the first play from scrimmage and took it 40-yards for a touchdown.
The extra point was good giving the Warriors 14 unanswered points in the first 3 minutes of the game. On their second possession of the game, the Gators had trouble picking up a first down forcing the first punt of the game. St. Michael took over on their 49-yard line. The Warriors moved the ball into Lakeview’s territory capping off the drive with a 3-yard run for a touchdown. The score leapt to 20-0. Lakeview would have success on their third possession navigating their way down the field into the red zone of St. Michael’s and capping off the drive with a 3-yard run for a touchdown.
The 2-point conversion was no good leaving the score at 20-6.
The Warriors ran one play before time expired sending the game into the second quarter. The Gators defense, led by defensive tackle Dillon Longino, stuffed the run causing the first three and out for St. Michael’s offense giving the Gators another opportunity to score. After receiving the ball the Gators offense had trouble gaining any momentum forcing the Gators to punt the ball away. The Warriors would, however, have success on their next possession scoring a touchdown on a 6-yard run by Nick Brister, extending their lead to 26-6. At this point, the Gators were down but not out. Taking the field after a motivational speech from head coach Brandon Helms, Lakeview was determined to get the ball into the end zone. The Gators started the drive on their own 35-yard line. Using a mixture of passes and running the Gators reached the end zone with a 13- yard pass play from William Brew to Jordan Hardy.
Two-point conversion was good leaving the Gators trailing 26-14. St. Michael returned the kick off to their own 42-yard line where the offense would down the ball to run the clock out for the first half. Starting the second half, St. Michael kicked off to the Gators and Lakeview took over on their own 32-yard line. The Gators picked up two first downs but the offense stalled after the fifth play from scrimmage causing the Gators to punt the ball away. St. Michael return the kick for 82 yards for a touchdown. Add the 2 and their lead increased to 34-14. Lakeview offense was unable to pick up a first down so they were forced to punt the ball away again, giving the Warriors offense another chance to score and that is exactly what they did. Garafola received the hand-off for a 72-yard touchdown, 41-14.
A quick three and out would result in another punt for the Gators. St Michael moved into field goal range and finished the drive with a field goal making the final score 44-14 Warriors.
Lakeview will host the Wolverines of Mansfield this Friday at 7 p.m.