Lakeview can’t match Mansfield’s speed, physical play, in loss

LINE EM UP: Lakeview couldn’t match Mansfield’s size or speed Friday, but the Gators will need to be ready for the final two games of the regular season if the playoffs will be part of the Gators’ future.

BY DWAIN SPILLMAN JR/Journal Sports

MANSFIELD — Lakeview coach Brandon Helms’ assessment of opponent Mansfield was that the Wolverines were extremely dangerous and athletic.

That prognostication took root Friday as the Wolverines pounded Lakeview in a 37-0 shutout.

Mansfield (2-6, 2-1 District 3-2A) won its second straight contest as the Wolverines have appeared to sort things out from their early-season struggles.

The Gators (4-4. 0-3) are still seeking their first district win as they’ve lost the last three contests by 30 points or more.

“It was just simple,” Helms said. “Mansfield came out very physical, and we didn’t match it.”

The Gators struggled to find success offensively. The Wolverines defense seemed to have an answer for every strategy Lakeview employed.

“Offensively, we just couldn’t get anything going,” Helms said. “Defensively, they just hit us with 4- and 5-yard runs all night, and when we came up to them tight, they threw over the top of us. With their definite size advantage, speed and overall athleticism, it really made a difference in us trying to defend them.”

The mission closing out the final two weeks of the regular season will be to return to their early-season identity. Lakeview won four straight games after an opening loss to D’Arbonne Woods Charter.

“During the last three weeks, we just haven’t been who we were the first five weeks of the season,” Helms said. “We have to go back and focus on fundamental football. That’s the bottom line. We have to get back to the team we were early and play sound football.

Including at Mansfield, Lakeview plays its final three games on the road with trips to Jonesboro-Hodge and to powerhouse Many to close out the district slate.

Photo: Kevin Shannahan