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October 19, 2013

Sailors get redemption, set up Week 9 showdown

STONEBORO — After cutting Lakeview’s lead to 19-13 with about 2:30 to play in the ball game, Sharpsville went for the onside kick and recovered, setting itself up on the Sailors’ 47 with plenty of time for a potential game-winning drive.

Was Lakeview sweating it?

No, sir.

“They didn’t get down,” said Lakeview head coach Dan York.

The Sailors stayed cool and went right back to work on “D”. Sharpsville’s possession lasted four plays. Lakeview took over on offense and drained out the clock for a huge Region 1 victory over the Blue Devils on Friday night, 19-13.

“It was just a great game,” said Lakeview senior lineman Sam Breese. “I can’t even remember the last time we beat Sharpsville.” (For the record, it was 2006.) “Our whole mindset this season has been beating Sharpsville after the way last year ended.”

That one well-tossed stone by the Sailors brought down a couple big birds. For one, it gives Lakeview a measure of redemption after last year’s heartbreaking 42-34 loss to Sharpsville in the District 10 playoffs. For another, the win keeps Lakeview in line for a title fight against West Middlesex this coming Friday. The Sailors are now 7-1 overall and 4-1 in Region 1. West Middlesex is looking to improve to 4-1 in the region when it takes on winless Kennedy Catholic today at noon in Hermitage.

“This feels good,” said Sailors fullback Blake Reddick. “We’re playing for a region title next week now. We’ve got it all set up. Now we’ve got to finish it. We’ve waited all year (to play Sharpsville). I couldn’t be happier. It was a good game, just like last year, but we were on top. It was perfect.”

Reddick had a nice night for the Sailors, rushing for 190 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.

Towards the end of the first quarter — during which Lakeview ran 20 plays for 132 yards while Sharpsville had just three plays for two yards — Reddick capped off a seven-play, 52-yard series with a 10 yard zip around the right side to put the Sailors on the board 7-0.

Then on the first play of Lakeview’s next possession, Reddick broke a screamer 45 yards to Sharpsville’s 20. Then on the second play, he stutter stepped through the line and gathered up the remaining 20 yards into the end zone to push Lakeview’s lead to 13-0.

He would end the first half with 149 yards on 18 carries.

Sharpsville found an answer though. And they had to do it without leading running back Tyler Wansack, who was injured at the start of the second quarter and didn’t return.

The Blue Devils had junior George Keck at fullback. And he was the main weapon in the team’s 13-play, 66-yard drive, breaking a 26-yard run deep into Lakeview territory and later scoring a touchdown on a 1-yard plunge on third-and-goal.

The half would end with Lakeview leading 13-7.

Hard luck struck the Sailors in the third. Quarterback Zack Bigley went down on the first play of the quarter — an apparent ankle injury. He toughed it out for a handful of downs after that, but eventually had to retire to the bench and get treated.

“That was real tough,” York said about the loss of Bigley. “We had a whole second half to play.”

Zach Van Dusen took over under center. And during his first series at QB he broke a 27-yard run that brought Lakeview to Sharpsville’ 25.

Two plays later, Van Dusen ran over to the sidelines and said to his coaches, “Spence says up the middle.”

Spence is Marquis Spence, Lakeview’s fullback. And on the next play, the ball went into his hands and up the middle he went 26 yards for the touchdown, putting Lakeview ahead 19-7 with 13 seconds left in the third.

Sharpsville needed to mount a comeback, so quarterback Nick Henwood began airing the ball out. The results were mixed. Early in the fourth, Henwood was picked off by Clayton Miller, but a roughing the passer penalty gave the Blue Devils the ball back.

Didn’t matter though. A few plays later, Reddick picked off a Henwood pass at the goal line, giving the ball to the Sailors.

However, before the half was up  Henwood found paydirt after heaving a Hail Mary down field. Derrek Smith, Sharpsville’s 6-foot-4 wideout, was able to get up over three defenders and bring it down, taking it 34 yards into the end zone to make it 19-13.

This was followed by the onside kick and then the stand by Lakeview’s defense.

It was a huge night for the Sailors’ “D”, which held Sharpsville to 203 yards of offense and grabbed two turnovers.

Outside linebacker Brandon Rice had a big game, deflecting a pass at the line and recording a sack. Reddick broke up a couple passes and had a pick. Van Dusen broke up a pair of passes and recovered a fumble.

The biggest effort on defense, however, belonged to Breese, who had four total tackles for loss, including two sacks on Henwood. He also blocked an extra point.

“Sam is a beast,” said York. “Sam’s a force of nature. Since we’ve had him, that’s just what he does. ... He’s a great kid, great work ethic. I couldn’t be happier for him.”

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