ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood came into Friday’s playoff game knowing its defense had to help control field position against Jesuit.
The Spartans (9-1) left Friday’s game with a ticket to Immokalee for a region final — and six Tigers (6-5) turnovers en route to a 20-7 victory.
Senior Khalid Davis had two turnovers on the night — one interception and one fumble recovery — to lead the way for Lakewood. Davis forced the fumble before recovering it.
"When he was coming my way, I saw how he had the ball and I knew I was going to strip it before he even got there," Davis said. "Then I just jumped on it."
Lakewood coach Cory Moore was happy to see his entire defense involved.
"I think almost everyone had the big-play chain on today," he said, referring to the team’s University of Miami-inspired turnover chain.
Deuce Spann had two touchdowns for Lakewood, which enjoyed comfortable field position all night thanks to its stout defense.
Spann’s first touchdown came from the 1-yard line and was set up by senior do-it-all Troy’von Johnson’s whirling dervish of a fake field goal. Following a high snap, Johnson collected the ball and scrambled in the backfield before reversing field and cutting through a bevy of Jesuit defenders, taking the ball inside the 5-yard line.
"I’ve been doing that for the longest," he said. "Scrambling is key. You have to run around to make something happen."
Johnson also had an interception on defense.
Lakewood will travel to face Immokalee (11-0) next week. Moore said his team is peaking.
"We’re jelling at the right time," he said. "The guys don’t want to stop playing football. The guys want to stay together. We came in and we talked about that we wanted to not just compete tonight, we wanted to dominate.
"We know Jesuit is a great team, but we came in and we said that we have to be the team that makes the fewest mistakes if we’re going to win tonight. We did that."