TAMPA — Lake Wales tight end Davion Riley ended Jesuit’s season on his only two catches of the game.
Riley caught touchdowns of 64 and 86 yards as Lake Wales stopped Jesuit 20-9 in Friday’s Class 5A region semifinal.
Jesuit’s season under first-year coach Matt Thompson ends at 8-4.
“I thought we played well enough to win but that’s a tough team and it was a tough game,” Thompson said. “I’m very proud of this team and what we accomplished. Obviously right now I upset that we couldn’t go farther.”
The Tigers moved the ball well in the first half and looked to take an early lead when quarterback Trent Wessel hit Ryan Black on a screen pass that went 41 yards for a touchdown. But a holding call away from the play took away the touchdown and the Tigers settled for a 27-yard field goal from Rhett Waldron.
Lake Wales (8-4) struggled to get much going early, but Riley’s first big play in the second quarter, a 64-yard catch-and-run touchdown, gave the Highlanders a 7-3 lead. Jesuit answered with an 11-play drive that featured several nice runs by junior Kevin Newman, but the drive eventually stalled at the Lake Wales 19, and Waldron hit a 36-yard field goal to bring the Tigers within one at the half.
“We had to keep them out of the end zone,” said Lake Wales coach Rod Shafer. “I’m proud of our defense because No. 11 (Newman) was giving us a lot of problems but we tightened up at the right time.”
The Tigers continued to pressure Lake Wales in the third quarter as Vincent Testaverde entered the game and hit Drew Paulsen on a 33-yard pass, and Newman’s 15-yard run gave the Tigers first and goal at the 5. But again the drive stalled and Waldron’s third field goal gave them a 9-7 lead.
“The field goals were nice and sometimes getting the points is the most important thing,” Thompson added. “But it just wasn’t enough tonight.”
The game flipped late in the third quarter when Testaverde was intercepted by Marcus Walker, who returned the pick 26 yards to the Jesuit 31. Six plays later Justin Henderson scored from 4 yards out to give Lake Wales a 13-9 lead.
Jesuit, however, came back with a 57-yard kick return by Newman that set the Tigers up at the Lake Wales 41. But the Tigers offense went three and out and punted. It was there that Riley struck again on a similar catch-and-run for an 86-yard touchdown.
Newman finished with 143 yards on 20 carries. Lake Wales quarterback Railond Garrett had 221 yards passing.