By MATT VINES, Journal Sports
OLLA – When LaSalle scored first in the second half, the Tigers built a 20-point lead and appeared to have sunk the Lakeview winning streak.
Not so fast.
Lakeview scored the game’s final 22 points en route to a 36-34 road win, and the victory streak reached three straight games.
“We fought back, forced turnovers and scored touchdowns,” said Lakeview coach Andy Boone. “We played really bad in the first half, and I had to discipline one of our best players and sit him in the second half.
“But the kids responded by not quitting, and they believed.”
Down 34-14, the comeback started to take shape late in the third quarter.
Amarion Pierre plunged in from 1 yard out, and Zantavias McKinney tacked on a 2-point conversion run to slice LaSalle’s edge to 34-22 with 14 seconds remaining in the quarter.
That’s when Lakeview’s defense clamped down.
The Gators (3-1) forced a turnover, setting up another scoring drive that ended in a Pierre 3-yard touchdown run.
LaSalle’s offense, which had been effective for the first two-and-a-half quarters, suddenly couldn’t sustain drives.
Lakeview forced another turnover, and the Gators surged ahead for good on a third Pierre touchdown run, this one from four yards.
Tied at 34-34 and with Lakeview not trying to kick extra points, it took a Lamarion Rushing two-point conversion to take a 36-34 lead with 1:34 left.
The Gators defense stood tall once more, sacking LaSalle to end the Tigers (3-1) chances of remaining unbeaten.
Lakeview produced a pair of 200-yard rushers in the past two games, but the Gators had a more modest offensive output Friday.
Pierre, who served as the primary offensive weapon in the second half, led the way with 137 rushing yards. It’s his third straight game with at least 100 yards on the ground.
Kaleb Collins toted the water in the first half, scoring both Gators touchdowns and finished with 79 yards.
Without Collins in the second half, the Gators found a way on offense and defense.
LaSalle posted 215 of its 283 yards in the first half and only 30 in the fourth quarter. Lakeview gained 183 of its 282 yards in the second half (all rushing).
The Tigers built their first-half lead thanks to two consecutive recovered onside kicks, which gave LaSalle three straight possessions.
All five of LaSalle’s touchdowns came on the ground, but the Tigers did throw for 72 yards on 4-14 passing.
Lakeview will attempt to extend its streak next week at home Thursday against Delhi Charter, a formidable Class 1A opponent out of northeast Louisiana.
“We only had three returning starters when we got here, and we have several ninth graders in key spots,” Boone said. “We have no experience.
“So maybe we are lucky, but my kids don’t know they shouldn’t be winning games with only 20 kids dressed. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing.”