Lakeview pushed Winnfield early, but Tigers pull away in second half to start district 

TRUCKIN’: Lakeview running back Kaleb Collins slices through a hole in the Winnfield defense Friday. Winnfield won 54-20.

DWAIN SPILLMAN JR, Journal Sports 

CAMPTI – The big play can be a game changer. It normally turns the tide when two high school football teams meet head on via the gridiron. 

Coming out of the locker room after the first two hard-fought quarters, Lakeview trailed Winnfield by just seven in the District 3-2A.  

Just 11 seconds later, the visiting Tigers posted what would turn out to be the game-changing touchdown as Winnfield returned the second-half kickoff for a touchdown.  

The Gators fought back throughout the second half but eventually fell 54-20. 

“Giving up that touchdown on the opening kickoff of the second half really hurt and probably made the biggest difference,” Lakeview boss Brandon Helms said shortly after meeting with his team postgame. “That’s an area (special teams) where we have struggled, but we have been working hard on that each week.” 

The Gators (4-2, 0-1 District 3-2A) and Tigers (5-1, 1-0) both came out strong in the first quarter, basically trading scores with Winnfield leading 19-12.  

Both defenses turned up their play in the second quarter as neither team reached the red zone.  

Though the Tigers opening score in the second half pushed the deficit to 25-12, the Lakeview squad showed their toughness by not bowing down to the visitors.  

After moving to the quarterback position late in the third period, Gator standout Dillon Pikes ran three straight times, covering 50 yards, and found the endzone with 40 seconds left in the third quarter and closed the gap to 33-20 — breathing life back into a potential comeback. 

However, re-enter the big play. Winnfield posted another score, a 42-yard touchdown pass with 10:24. Winnfield used the pass to open the margin throughout the rest of the game. 

“We didn’t play our best game tonight,” Helms said. “Winnfield had a lot to do with that. They are a very good team, and I give them a lot of credit.” 

Helms said his team needs to take valuable lessons from the Winnfield loss, which snapped a four-game Gators winning streak, the longest in more than a decade. 

“Our emotions are hurt of course,” Helms said. “But we have to move on past that and come back strong. And, the good thing is, this wasn’t the first round of the playoffs and we don’t have to hang up the equipment. The good thing about tonight is that we get to bounce back next week and play one of our biggest rivals (Red River). What a way to bounce back after tonight’s loss…… we get to play again next week and against a huge rival.” 

PHOTO: Kevin Shanahan/NPJ Sports