By MATT VINES, Journal Sports
WINNFIELD – Despite losing bruising running back Kaleb Collins on the third play of the game Friday, Lakeview weathered that storm and took an early lead in its District 3-2A opener.
But the Gators didn’t have the horses to hang with Winnfield for the duration, and the Tigers pounced with three second-quarter touchdowns en route to a 30-14 win.
Collins suffered an injury to his mouth in which multiple teeth were knocked out, and he didn’t return to the game.
Lakeview’s other main rushing option, Omarion Pier, toted the water as the Gators (3-3, 0-1) struck first with a 4-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.
“We made a stop and scored in the first quarter, and then recovered an onside kick,” said Lakeview coach Andy Boone, whose team has tended to fall behind early deficits. “We had all the momentum.
“But with Collins out and us losing some fumbles, Winnfield took advantage.”
Without Collins, Winnfield could key on Pier, who rushed for 109 yards on 26 touches. Pier has topped the 200-yard rushing mark three times this season, and his Friday total did put him above the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
Collins’ absence was missed on both sides of the ball as Winnfield found success on the ground (210 yards) and in the air (117 yards on 4-6 passing).
Lakeview had three turnovers that led to Winnfield touchdowns, offsetting the Gators’ ability to chew large chunks of the clock and control possession. Lakeview doubled Winnfield in time of possession.
That also meant Winnfield had some success striking quickly, including a 53-yard touchdown pass to snatch a 24-8 lead before halftime. Winnfield started its scoring with touchdown runs of 19 and 2 yards.
“We gave them some short fields with our turnovers,” Boone said. “Winnfield was stronger than us (defensively) and were more physical than us.”
Lakeview stayed alive in the second half, cutting Winnfield’s lead to 24-14 late in the third quarter as quarterback Lamarion Rushing scored on a 14-yard run.
Rushing, who typically isn’t asked to run much, found success with 81 yards on seven carries. Rushing did leave the game late with an injury.
But the Tigers responded on the ensuing drive with a 29-yard touchdown run to cap the scoring.
Lakeview’s Amania Green also shared in the workload without Collins, rushing for 39 yards on 12 touches.
The Gators’ district losing streak extended to 12 games dating back to 2019. Lakeview’s last win against Winnfield came in 2018.
With the win, Winnfield improved to 2-4, but that record is slightly deceiving. The four teams to beat Winnfield (Bunkie, Caldwell Parish, Pineville and Jena) have a combined 17-7 record.
Lakeview heads to Red River next, in the final road game of the regular season.