By Craig Brown
For the first time in five years two old rivals met on the football field for some hard-hitting action in Lake View. The Latta-Lake View rivalry dates back around 100 years with the Gators holding an 8 to 1 edge but the worst defeat that Lake View ever experienced came at the hands of Latta in the 1920’s with Latta getting an 83-0 win. Friday night belonged to the Wild Gators as they took the region win 26-6.
Wild Gator Head Coach Daryl King and his staff prepare their team better than any football coaching unit in the state and when it comes to this rivalry there was extra work involved.
Latta Coach Brandon Iseman has a good season at 5-4 and should make the playoffs and it was his first time in this great rival game, and I am sure the old Latta fans will inform him that this is the Clemson-South Carolina game of Dillon County.
The Vikings were in the game offensively until Lebron Cobb went out with an injury. Cobb is 50% of the Viking offensive punch. After Cobb went out the Wild Gator defenders keyed on Latta’s remaining offensive attack led by Jamarion Jones and Eli Jones. As stated this was a hard-hitting and intense game that had to be stopped at least six times due to a player going down.
The Wild Gators got on the board first when quarterback Kason Herlong hit Shaheed Dawkins with a 44-yard touchdown pass. The conversion failed holding the Wild Gator lead to 6-0 with 9:39 left in the first quarter.
With 4:10 left in the first quarter, the Vikings attempted a long field goal that fell short and the first quarter ended with the Gators up 6-0.
On the Vikings first possession of the second quarter, Cobb finished a long drive with a three-yard touchdown run. The conversion failed leaving the game knotted at 6-6 with 9:42 left in the second quarter. Cobb would leave the game shortly after this.
Marvin Gordon put the Wild Gators ahead on a 60-yard touchdown run. Herlong hit Dawkins with the two-point conversion to give Lake View a 14-6 lead with 9:31 left in the second quarter.
Dawkins stopped a late second quarter Viking threat with an interception in the end zone to hold the 14-6 Wild Gator lead into the halftime break.
With 7:55 left in the third quarter, Dawkins crossed the goal line on a six-yard run. The conversion failed holding the Wild Gator lead to 20-6. The third quarter would end with this score.
Herlong and Dawkins would team up again for a touchdown this time from six yards out. The conversion failed but the Wild Gators would go up 26-6 with 8:23 left in the game and the final scoring in the game.
On offense for the Wild Gators, Kason Herlong was 6 of 10 passing for 113 yards and two touchdowns, Shaheed Dawkins caught four passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns and had 44 yards on four carries with a touchdown run, Marvin Gordon had 86 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown, Logan Jones had 37 yards rushing, and Trey Page had 18 yards rushing.
For Latta on offense, Lebron Cobb had 90 yards on six carries with a touchdown, Jamarion Jones had 43 yards rushing, Eli Jones rushed for 27 yards and completed a 25-yard pass, Michael McKenzie caught a 25-yard pass, and Justin Stutler had 16 yards rushing.
On defense for Latta, Justin Stutler had seven tackles; Michael McKenzie and Holden Mathews had four tackles each; Eli Jones had three tackles; Slayden Strickland, Tony Williams, Michael Hunt, and Mervin Thompson had two tackles each; and Purnell Griffin and Amir Rogers added a tackle each.
On defense for the Wild Gators, Camden Umphries, Kamrick Bethea, Trey Foxworth, Logan Jones, Sevon Nichols, and Jayden Benjamin each had five tackles each with Jones getting an interception and Bethea had four tackles for a loss; Shaheed Dawkins, Joseph Grossetti, and Zydrrious Inman had four tackles each with Inman getting two tackles for a loss, Grossetti getting three tackles for a loss, and Dawkins getting an interception; and DJ Hardee and Chris McGill had three tackles each.
As always, Wild Gator Statistician Jimmy Sweat came to the rescue as my game notes were destroyed in an accident. The Vikings will have a bye this week and give Coach Iseman and his able staff extra time to prepare for their final game against Green Sea Floyds. Latta should win this matchup and make the playoffs.
The Wild Gators will travel to Lamar Friday night in what should be the area game of the week. Coach Daryl King had high praise for his coaching staff as they prepared the team for this rivalry game. No player on either side had ever played in the restarted rivalry. This was the largest fan attendance at a Lake View Field in several years.
By Craig Brown