The Lakeview-Red River rivalry had its latest game Friday, Nov. 6. The Gators were without their MLB Udonis Jones who broke his ankle in last week’s game and is out for the remainder of the season. This is a huge loss for the Gators.
They had no option but to gather themselves and prepare for one of their biggest battles of the season, the Red River Bulldogs. The Gator defense showed up on the first drive, forcing the Bulldogs to a 3 & out. Then, Head Coach Brandon Helms had a trick up his sleeve for the Gators. The first play of the Gator drive, QB Braden Woods flipped the ball back to Tevin Hickman who found Dillon Pikes wide open down the field for a 61-yard touchdown. A quick run in from Woods on the 2 and the Gators are quickly up 8-0. Bulldog offense was stagnant, and they punted the ball to the Gator 16.
On the first play of the drive, Woods fumbled the ball and the Bulldogs recovered just 17 yards from the end zone. A couple tough runs later and the game is all tied up 8-8 with 7:41 left in the first quarter. The momentum stayed with Red River when they intercepted a pass thrown by Woods at the 45-yard line. On the ensuing play, Pikes got an interception of his own at the Red River 41. Woods ground out an 8 yard run on the first play.
Pikes tried to do the same but was stopped at the line of scrimmage. The Gators attempted to air the ball out, but Hickman dropped a huge gain down the field. On fourth down, Woods muscled out a 15-yard run to gain the first. Pikes collectively ran for 14 yards on the next four plays, followed by a 15-yard grab at the Red River 8-yard line by Hickman. Woods walked into the end zone on the next play to give the Gators the lead, 14-8 with 15 seconds remaining in the first.
The Bulldogs returned the kickoff all the way to the Lakeview 32 giving them great position to start the second quarter. It only took five plays for the Gator defense to force a turnover on downs and get the Bulldogs off the field to start the second quarter. The Gators went 3 & out and punted to the 25-yard line. Red River launched a 75-yard TD pass and kicked a PAT to give them a 15-14 lead with 9:34 remaining in the second. Hickman tried to run the ball on a sweep and fumbled at the 37-yard line. The Bulldogs broke off five back-to-back huge runs to get another touchdown and push the lead to 22-14 at halftime.
The Gators had a new game plan for the second half. They received the ball at their 17 and came out of the huddle with Hickman as QB in a wildcat formation. Hickman broke off six consecutive runs for 31 collective yards, and on third down tried to air it out, but it fell incomplete. Red River muffed the punt by the Gators and Hickman recovered the ball at the 24. Sadly, he fumbled the next play.
The Bulldogs found the end zone again and pushed the lead to 29-14 with 3:06 left in the third. With an unsportsmanlike conduct flag against Red river coming shortly after the kick return, the Gators had the ball at the RR 47. Hickman was still touching the ball every play, as he would run four straight times for 25 total yards to end the third. Hickman worked his way to the 3-yard line where Woods punched it in to close the gap and make the score 29-20 with 10:40 left in the game. It was all Bulldog from there on out, as they would score three times and pushed the lead to 50-20 with just 5 minutes left.
The Gators were still trying at this point, but Hickman got hit one too many times and went down for a long time for the second time this season. Hickman is an extremely talented ball player and has a chance to succeed in the future, and with that in mind, he is officially done with his senior season. This breaks the hearts of all his fans, and everybody wishes this young man well. The game would be called after Hickman was carried off the field, and the Red River Bulldogs came out on top 50-20.
The Gators are now 2-3 on the season, and will face the Bunkie Panthers next week. This will be Homecoming and Senior night for Lakeview, so make sure you come out and support your Gators.