Bizarre stretch breaks open close battle as Menard puts away Lakeview

There weren’t UFOs at Lakeview High School Friday night, but what everyone attending the Gators’ football game against Menard saw was just … weird, and difficult to explain.

Lakeview trailed by seven midway through the third quarter, but then Menard played an incredible game of keepaway and rolled to a 56-14 road win.

“It was the craziest game I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Lakeview coach Brandon Helms. “We’re down 21-14, playing our butts off, and we get a stop to start the second half. We put together a 4-5 minute drive, converting fourth downs, but the drive stalls at about the 25. They take the ball downfield and score to go up 28-14.”

Then the Gators didn’t run an offensive play again until the Eagles had scored four more offensive touchdowns. No, they weren’t playing “make it, take it.”

Sky kicks bedeviled Lakeview. After that third-quarter TD for the 28-14 advantage, Menard successfully executed a series of sky kicks, creating turnovers either on loose balls or forcing Lakeview players to fumble while fielding the kicks.

“It’s 56-14 before we ever ran another offensive play. We got one possession in the third quarter, then got the football back with 6:18 left in the fourth quarter,” said Helms. “A couple (sky kicks) were like a good golf shot. It would hit, spin back. Or we got smoked while we were trying to catch it.”

Despite the bizarre turn of events, Helms found reasons to be proud of his Gators.

“Our kids played harder,” he said. “In the first half, we executed really well, put together some drives. We were better than we were a week ago, and we kept battling, even after it got out of hand,”

Lakeview opened with a sustained drive chewing up about half of the opening quarter, but couldn’t finish. Menard tried a gadget play that backfired, a double pass, which was intercepted by Gators standout Dillon Pikes and returned 45 yards for a score.

The Eagles answered with a long scoring drive but again, Pikes and the Gators lit up the scoreboard – immediately. The junior quarterback and safety fielded the ensuing kickoff and dashed 80 yards to score, pushing the home team ahead 14-7.

Menard bounced back to regain the lead in the second quarter with a pair of touchdowns for the 21-14 halftime edge. Then midway through the third quarter, the Eagles (1-3) took flight.

“They’re going to win some games. They’re talented, and I think they figured out a lot last week (in a 31-17 loss to St. Mary’s),” said Helms.

Along with Pikes, the Gators (1-3) got quality performances from a pair of unsung stalwarts.

“C.J. Brown got his first start at linebacker, and did a good job. Gevious Washington at guard did a pretty good job up front. Those two kids, and or course, Pikes, gave us all we could ask and then some.

“Dillon had an interception, scored two touchdowns, made multiple chunk plays on offense,” said Helms. “Week after week, he delivers. He’s our best athlete.”

Lakeview continues its non-district slate on the road next Friday at Bunkie.