Lakewood takes 4A-9 runnerup spot

Lakewood’s Sermetrius Dennis heads into the end zone without any resistance early in the Spartans’ victory over Northeast.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Lakewood’s Sermetrius Dennis heads into the end zone without any resistance early in the Spartans’ victory over Northeast.

ST. PETERSBURG — Northeast coach Jay Austin was not trying to make a point in Monday's Class 4A, District 9 tiebreaker against Lakewood.

He was trying to make two.

Trailing 7-0 in their quarter of play, the Vikings got into a rhythm and threatened to score. Then, in the final two minutes, Tim Tisdale plunged in from 1 yard for a touchdown.

That left Austin with a decision and he didn't go for the sure thing.

Rather than savor a tie and possibly force overtime, Austin chose to gamble with a two-point conversion.

It didn't work.

The Spartans stuffed the running play to preserve a 7-6 victory and advance to the playoffs as district runnerup.

"We had a little momentum there at the end, and I wanted to see if we could keep it going," Austin said. "We gave it a good effort."

In the first tiebreaker, the Vikings lost to Bradenton Southeast 14-0.

That set up a showdown with the Seminoles and Lakewood for the right to be district champion.

The Spartans had the momentum early after Marcus Jackson blocked a punt to set up a 20-yard field goal from Erick Cuoco that gave Lakewood a 3-0 lead.

But Southeast countered with a 15-play, 80-yard touchdown drive.

The score was protested by Lakewood players who said officials were looking at back line where the soccer field is marked instead of the football field.

"I stopped on the play because I thought the receiver was clearly out," Spartans defensive back Jacquez Jenkins said.

The score stood as Southeast won 7-3.

Lakewood takes 4A-9 runnerup spot 11/11/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 1:28pm]

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