ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood’s Khalid Davis knew about the turnover chain. Heck, it was his idea.
So when he stripped a Tarpon Spring punt returner during the second quarter, he knew what he had to do.
"Once I stripped it, I knew I was gonna get the chain," he said. "I knew there was people around me so I couldn’t run, so I just jumped on it."
Lakewood used that turnover — and one more by Davis —along with seven sacks to pound Tarpon Springs 40-0 Friday and move on to the next round of the playoffs. The Spartans (8-1) will face Tampa Jesuit.
Cornell Battles led Lakewood on offense, tallying 131 yards and two scores. Sophomore quarterback Deuce Spann added a score in the fourth quarter.
But it was the defense that shined the most for the Spartans. In addition to the sacks, the Spartans recorded eight tackles for a loss. They held Tarpon Springs star J’von France to less than 50 total yards.
Davis said the goal was not to let up in the second half like in their previous matchup with the Spongers.
"We wanted to be better than we were last time. Last time we played them, we gave up 14 points in the second half and we didn’t want to do that. We were prepared for everything."
Davis said the chain was a motivating factor for the Spartans all week during practice.
"At first we were going to make our own, but on Thursday the coaches surprised us with it," Davis said. "We were excited."
Troy’von Johnson got the scoring started for Lakewood with a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown, reversing field twice to race past the Spongers. Senior Dezhon Edwards followed suit later in the game, taking a punt back for a score himself.
"I saw a hole and I knew I had good blocking, so I followed my blocks," Edwards said. "I beat one defender on the 40 and I saw daylight."
Lakewood coach Cory Moore said he wasn’t surprised to see his two seniors shine on special teams.