Polk Game of Week: Lakeland vs. Lake Gibson

There is a proverb that says good things come to those who wait. For the high school football faithful across Polk County, our patient waiting was to be paid off under the bright lights of Friday night. However, for the Lakeland Dreadnaught and Lake Gibson Braves faithful, Mother Nature quickly put an end to our enjoyment.

Lakeland began the night on defense after taking the field in front of about 3,000 fans at Virgil Ramage Stadium with a surprise at kicker. Lined up to kick off was none other than Lakeland's Mr. Everything, Javares McRoy, who it appears, will handle kickoffs and extra points. Everything started off well for the Dreadnaughts as McRoy's kick sailed into the end zone for a touch back. Things quickly changed as a young, Lakeland defense struggled to contain Lake Gibson QB, Tom Ortiz. Ortiz caused problems for Lakeland both with his feet and with his arm as he took a broken play early and scrambled about 40 yards and connected several times with wide receiver Mervin Stewart. Lakeland's only defensive highlights were two sacks recorded by senior defensive end Tedward Hamilton. Lakeland would eventually stop Lake Gibson from converting on 4th down after a momentum killing holding penalty.

On offense, Lakeland struggled, in the words of Hank Stram, to "matriculate down the field." Steward Butler, who rejoins Lakeland after a year at Oviedo, struggled the whole night behind a Lakeland offensive line that could not seem to win at the line and create any running lanes. Credit goes to the Brave's defensive line for really controlling the interior of the line and forcing Lakeland outside. Lakeland QB Tim Evans was impressive with his arm and legs, avoiding a number of sacks and turning it into positive yards. Evans would connect with Theodore Wright several times throughout the night and eventually with playmaker Javares McRoy on a deep pass in the second quarter. That deep ball would set up the only points of the evening, when Javares McRoy would beautifully execute an end around and take it into the end zone, but the extra point would be no good.

After the Lakeland score, Lake Gibson would go to their Wildcat offense with star running back Remi Watson lining up at QB. Watson, who struggled all night to find any real running success behind a sizeable Lake Gibson offensive line lead by star offensive tackle Errin Joe, would find great success in the Wildcat. Watson would call his number over and over, helping the Brave's offense march steadily down the field on Lakeland, only to come up limp after a nice run down to the Lakeland 10 yard line. Fortunately for Lakeland and unfortunately for Lake Gibson, the game would be halted there with 7:59 remaining due to lightning and would be officially called off at 8:10. The good news is Watson would leave the field under his own power and Coach Keith DeMeyer said after the game he should be fine and is just sore. Lakeland escaped with a sloppy, default 6-0 victory.


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