Valiant effort from Lakeview falls short before scary finish at Red River

Lakeview’s Gators put together some of their finest football this season in the first half Friday night at Red River.

Then things got helter-skelter and eventually, downright scary, in a 42-6 loss at Coushatta called off after a shooting incident near the school late in the third quarter.

When the shots rang out, panicked fans rushed for cover and the exits, and Lakeview coach Brandon Helms sent his squad to the locker room. After a lengthy delay, the game was called off with the Bulldogs declared winners.

The frightening experience detracted from an outstanding effort by the Gators, said Helms.

“It was a wild night all the way around. As far as the game itself, for one quarter and 10 minutes and 40 seconds of the second quarter, we played as well as we can, and it was 14-6 with 1:20 left in the half,” he said.

But in those last 80 seconds before Red River’s homecoming ceremonies, the game changed. A Red River runner broke a couple of tackles, raced downfield and scored. The Gators fumbled the ensuing kickoff. The Bulldogs got another touchdown with eight seconds remaining before halftime, doubling their lead to 28-6.

Making matters worse, Lakeview lost its top two running backs to injuries, while standout quarterback and safety Dillon Pikes was unable to return for the second half while suffering illness from an emergency tooth extraction on Thursday.

Pikes, a junior, had a sensational 27-yard touchdown run and went over 100 yards rushing in the first half.

“He broke about eight tackles to get there. It was a big-boy run,” said Helms. “He gave us everything he could but he was in no condition to play the second half. I wouldn’t let him.”

The Gators operated with a freshman quarterback and an eighth grader at running back for the rest of the game.

“We were very, very limited,” said Helms.

“I was proud of our kids’ effort. They played hard. We held Tre’ Smith, who’s the Navy commit, and is averaging 300 yards passing, to two completions in the first half. I was proud of how we played and how our kids handled the situation that happened.”

Pikes, as usual, was a cornerstone for the Lakeview defense in the secondary, as was senior Matthew Howard.

“Dillon played well on the defensive side, and of course, so did Matthew at linebacker. Jaidon Fowler played very well at free safety,” said Helms.

Lakeview dropped to 1-7 overall and winless in District 3-2A. Red River rose to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in district. The Gators go to Winnfield next Friday night, then host defending state champ Many to wrap up the schedule.