Monday, February 19, 2018
Sports

Football: Lakewood 30, Tarpon Springs 9

ST. PETERSBURG — Things were not going as planned for Lakewood as it jogged to the locker room at halftime of Friday's Class 5A region semifinal against Tarpon Springs. The Spartans were supposed to be up comfortably against a team it blew out only a few weeks ago.

Instead, they nursed a two-point lead and wasted a scoring chance with 13 seconds left. Given a chance to calm down, Lakewood returned to form and defeated the Spongers 30-9 to reach its first-ever region final.

"Tarpon is a very good team, better than people think they are," Lakewood coach Cory Moore said. "We had to play very hard to beat them."

In many ways, the Spongers (7-5) outplayed Lakewood in the first half. Tarpon Springs opened the game with a 14-play drive that ended when it failed on fourth and 6 from the Lakewood 25.

After a scoreless first quarter, Lakewood (9-3) got going. It put together a five-play drive that ended when Ryan Davis hit Darquez Watson on a 23-yard touchdown pass. Joc Ellison threw to Tyrae Boykins for the two-point conversion.

The drive was kept alive thanks to pass interference on Tarpon Springs on fourth and 5.

The Spongers did not go away.

They came back with a 12-play drive kept alive when Lakewood was called for illegal participation during a punt. Given a second chance, Michael Ford made the most of it with a 52-yard run to the 1.

Montel Johnson barreled in on second and goal, but the two-point conversion failed.

Lakewood had a chance to tack on to its first-half lead with 13 second left. But Davis was intercepted in the end zone by Leonel Hernandez.

"It seemed like the guys were playing not to lose," Moore said. "You can't play that way. They were too uptight. I told them to have some fun and play ball."

The Spartans started the third quarter with a 10-play drive capped by a Davis run from a yard out. Tarpon Springs got a 47-yard field goal from Louis Zervos, but Lakewood struck again late in the third.

Donterio Fowler ripped off a 56-yard run to the 9. Two plays later, Davis scored on his second 1-yard run to make it 23-9.

The Spartans clinched the game midway through the fourth when Davis threw his second touchdown pass to Watson. This one was from 33 yards over the middle.

"We started a little slower than usual," Watson said. "I think that might have been because of the lack of competition last week (a 75-19 win over Hudson).

"It took us a while to get the running game going, but once it did, it opened the passing game up."

Tarpon Springs hurt itself with 15 penalties for 138 yards. Ford gained 149 yards on 19 carries.

Davis threw for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

"That was a defensive game all the way around," Spongers coach Ron Hawn said.

"They stopped our offense. We stopped their offense. Going into the fourth quarter, it was 23-9 and we had the ball. We had an opportunity."

While Lakewood's offense has gotten more attention during its two playoff wins, Moore said his defense has played a big part.

"Our defense was a little upset," Moore said. "They heard it was supposed to be a basketball score. They didn't want to get scored on like that. They wanted it to be more like a hockey score."

Comments
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Goodbye, Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Goodbye, Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson

The Rays continue their salary dump as they trade Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a Single-A shortstop and designate All-Star Corey Dickerson for assignment, saving about $10 million in the process.In his latest podcast, Rick Stroud breaks down the mo...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
As Odorizzi bids goodbye to Rays, Archer says he’ll be missed many ways

As Odorizzi bids goodbye to Rays, Archer says he’ll be missed many ways

RHP Jake Odorizzi was up early Sunday, driving over to the Rays training complex in Port Charlotte to pack his stuff and say his goodbyes after being traded Saturday night to the Twins.RELATED: Rays make a deal, three actually, to trade Odorizzi, DFA...
Updated: 3 hours ago
On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

TAMPA — Columbia Restaurant owner Richard Gonzmart says he’s ready to put his checkbook where his heart is when it comes to supporting a Tampa Bay Rays move to Ybor City.So is the investment fund for the founding family of Ashley Furniture. So, it ap...
Updated: 3 hours ago
LeBron James leads squad to All-Star victory

LeBron James leads squad to All-Star victory

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James picked a winner in the NBA All-Star Game.James scored 29 and hit the go-ahead layup with 34.5 seconds to play, winning his third All-Star Game MVP award while his hand-picked team rallied to win an uncommonly entertai...
Updated: 10 hours ago
History in sight, Aric Almirola’s heart broken at Daytona 500

History in sight, Aric Almirola’s heart broken at Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH — Early Sunday evening, Aric Almirola walked from the infield care center and back to the garage area at Daytona International Speedway. His day was done, and with it a dream, the biggest you can have. He was released when medical...
Updated: 10 hours ago
What were Rays thinking in ditching Odorizzi, Dickerson, adding Cron?

What were Rays thinking in ditching Odorizzi, Dickerson, adding Cron?

PORT CHARLOTTE – Rays officials insisted Sunday they made the best deals they could in a bad market, trading No. 2 starter Jake Odorizzi for an unheralded Class A shortstop prospect and DFA-ing 2017 All-Star Corey Dickerson in essentially a swa...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bubba Wallace emotional after Daytona 500 runner-up finish

Bubba Wallace emotional after Daytona 500 runner-up finish

DAYTONA BEACH – No, Bubba Wallace did not win the 60th running of the Daytona 500.But you wouldn't have known that after seeing his emotions after he placed second – the highest finish ever by a black driver in the Great American Race.Wal...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Winter Olympics: First Russian fails drug test at Games

Winter Olympics: First Russian fails drug test at Games

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — A Russian has failed a preliminary doping test, the first athlete from the country to come under investigation for using a banned substance at the Games, putting in jeopardy Russia’s efforts to move past a vast, state-backe...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Monday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballWomen: Florida State at Duke6 p.m.ESPN2Miami at Notre Dame7 p.m.ESPN; 620-AMMaryland at Northwestern7 p.m.FS1Howard at N.C. Central7 p.m.ESPNUWomen: Georgia at Mississippi7 p.m.SECWomen: Syracuse at Pittsburgh7 p.m.Fox SunWomen...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Don’t like Rays moves? You’ve got company in Longo

Don’t like Rays moves? You’ve got company in Longo

Evan Longoria has said pretty much all the right things since the Rays traded him in December to the Giants.But the former franchise cornerstone felt strongly the Rays made the wrong move in designating for assignment Corey Dickerson and spoke out on...
Updated: 11 hours ago