Injured player stops game

Dillon Pikes had an 80-yard kickoff return touchdown in the first quarter. Photo by Ethan Smith

This was a big one for the Gators. They matched up against one of the biggest names in the state when they traveled Friday the 23rd to battle with the Many Tigers. The Tigers have been district champs for as long as I can remember. But with a new team this year, the Gators planned on knocking the king off the mountain.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff back to the 40 yard line, giving them great position. They ran nine yards on the first two runs, then fumble the ball on third down, but recovered. The Tigers lined up for a punt, but it would be a trick play. The Tigers ran the ball all the way to the Lakeview 15. They tried to punch it in up the middle, but only got 5 yards when they were stopped by (S) Tevin Hickman. Yet only one play later, they would run it in to make the score 6-0. But the Gators wouldn’t let this get them down. On the ensuing kickoff, Dillon Pikes took it to the house for an 80-yard kickoff return touchdown. Just like that it was 6-6 with 9:04 left in the first quarter.

Sadly, this would be the only time the Gators found the end zone all night.

Many showed signs of weakness on the next drive. After a 12-yard run, the Tigers were penalized with a false start. To try and make up the ground, they attempted a deep pass, but it was way over the receiver’s head. This ball was not catchable at all, yet somehow, the refs threw the flag on the Gators for pass interference. Tigers got the ball on the Lakeview 40. The Tigers broke off a couple long runs before getting an 18-yard passing touchdown on the right side from a blown cover by Alex Perry.

Alex Perry, #17

The Gators got the kickoff at the 35 on a fair catch from Udonis Jones, and on the very first play the Tigers committed a facemask penalty which should’ve given the Gators life, but just three plays later, Many got a pickoff and returned it to the Lakeview 25. The Tigers would hold on the first play of the drive, but it didn’t faze them. They just ran it 37 yards to the end zone on the next play making it 19-6 at the end of the first. The Tigers got another score after recovering the onside kick at the end of the first, making it 26-6, but the rest of the first half was and back and forth play of bad football. The Gators tried to make a drive near the end of the half, but it was a turnover on downs on the Many 7-yard line.

The second half was just more of the same; Many dominated football. The only eventful moment was when everybody’s heart stopped as Lakeview star player Tevin Hickman went down as his head bounced hard off the turf. He was on the ground a very, very long time. Thankfully, he was able to move his limbs and talk clearly.

Coach Brandon Helms watches from the sidelines he works on a strategy to combat the Many attack.

The game was stopped for what seemed like an eternity as they waited for the ambulance. Many dominated the entire game and finished with a big blowout win of 47-6.

This pushes the Gators to 1-2, but they play a team this week, Darbonne Woods, that they dominated last year. We will see what the future holds.