CAMPTI – Fanfare filled the air Friday night as Lakeview celebrated its first game on the new field turf, which came in handy as rain and storms pelted the state throughout the week.
The Gators matched that feeling on the field early as they snatched a first-quarter lead, but D’Arbonne Woods Charter outlasted Lakeview 17-6 to kick off the regular season.
After the Gators (0-1) held the Timberwolves (1-0) to a field goal, Lakeview connected on a 68-yard touchdown pass from quarterback CJ Jones to receiver Evan Baker.
It’s the second straight week in which the Gators have hit a long scoring pass after Jones found Kylin Collins on an 82-yard strike in the jamboree.
Lakeview couldn’t find offensive consistency, and the Timberwolves managed the final two touchdowns to win its second straight in the series.
“I thought we competed well, we just have to clean some things up,” said Lakeview coach Brandon Helms. “We had another long scoring pass from CJ Jones.
“Defensively, freshman nose tackle Jerelle Palmer had seven solo tackles and five assists. But our passing game suffered from too many drops, so we’ll have to correct that going forward.”
The two programs have split the last four meetings, but Lakeview’s second straight loss in the series extended the Gators’ overall losing streak to nine.
Lakeview was playing shorthanded, including missing the services of receiver/defensive back Dillon Pikes and two-way linemen Jamarrian Vaughn and Ryan Hubbard.
Pikes’ absence was especially notable in the passing game, but Helms said the new defensive starters lived up to the task.
“We had some guys step up defensively, and they should help going forward,” Helms said. “Our new offensive starters were inconsistent, but we’ll have to build on (Friday’s) experience.”
The Gators are back at home again this coming week when Montgomery comes calling in Week 2. Montgomery suffered a 54-6 drubbing at the hands of Grant.