Quarterback controversy is not in the near future for Clearwater (2-1), which handled visiting Lakewood 24-16 Thursday night despite the absence of starting quarterback Tevin Watkins. Sophomore Shawn Daniels didn't contribute much as Watkins' replacement in the Tornados' second straight win, but he didn't hurt anything, either.
"I thought he hung in there for a sophomore," Clearwater coach Tom Bostic said. "It was a pretty good win."
Watkins didn't connect on Clearwater's two attempted passes, but running backs Michael Mitchell and Jason Harris broke open the game in the second half.
Lakewood's only touchdown was on its second possession of the first quarter, as Chris Bryant used a 1-yard quarterback sneak to open the scoring. Clearwater kicker Kyle Chilton was good from 38-yards early in the second quarter, and the Tornados briefly took the lead 11-10 after Mitchell (14 rushes, 53 yards) went 25 yards untouched for his first of two touchdowns. Spartan kicker Kevin Larsen had field goals of 33 yards and 38 yards in the second quarter to give Lakewood the halftime lead 13-11.
"When you win like this," Bostic said, "it makes the kids grow up a little more. It's got to help with their confidence after this."
Mitchell scored his second TD on a 1-yard run on Clearwater's first drive of the third quarter to take the lead 17-13, and Harris (9 rushes, 84 yards) slipped through Lakewood's arm-tackling in the fourth quarter to seal it, giving Lakewood its third consecutive loss to start the season.
Bryant threw for 116 yards on eight completions, but the Spartans offense danced around in Clearwater territory, fumbling once on the 10 and throwing an interception to Harris at the 20.