FOOTBALL: Late-night victory for Lemon Bay

By Vinnie Portell, Sun Correspondent

Aidan Moore goes air borne to pick up some extra yards for his Lemon Bay Manta Rays against Golden Gate on Friday (Sun Photo by Tim Kern).

ENGLEWOOD — Lemon Bay coach Don Southwell entered Friday night’s 21- 19 victory against Golden Gate knowing the fortitude of his players would be tested.

But after a two-hour lightning delay and nearly 48 minutes of what the first-year coach called “sloppy play” at Veterans Stadium, the Manta Rays found themselves need- ing just one more stop to win their season-opener.

But after a two-hour lightning delay and nearly 48 minutes of what the first-year coach called “sloppy play” at Veterans Stadium, the Manta Rays found themselves need- ing just one more stop to win their season-opener.

“We had 10 guys on the field, we had no timeouts, there was nothing we could do,” Southwell said. “It was just in the hands of fate. I was just thinking ‘No, no, no. Someone make a play.’ And they did.”

Herard briefly fumbled the snap, rolled to his right and tossed a prayer to the end zone that a Manta Rays defender swatted away as the final second ran off the clock. The Lemon Bay sideline erupted in jubilation and players sprinted toward their end zone.

Playing with limited depth and a lengthy weather delay, Southwell said he was proud of how tough his team showed it can be.

“We came in as a MASH unit,” Southwell said of his team’s injury situation. “We started our third and fourth running backs and they didn’t have backups. So they had to go and they were hurting. Aidan Moore was dinged up with his shoulder before the game started and he fought through.

“It was closer than we would’ve liked. We were sloppy, gave up some big plays and had a lot of penalties, which is not a recipe for success for us. But we found a way to win and there’s something to be said about a team that can find a way to win.”

Though the Manta Rays (1-0) led for most of the contest, they allowed Golden Gate (0-2) to capitalize on several big gains to stay within reach all night.

After opening with an 8-0 lead, Lemon Bay gave up a 35-yard touchdown run to Herard on the next series. Lightning strikes in the area then forced the teams to seek shelter until 10:15 p.m.

Lemon Bay kicker John Moore nailed a 29-yard field goal as the first half expired to give the Manta Rays an 11-6 lead, but the Titans answered with a 69-yard touchdown pass from Herard to receiver Jouvensly Bazile.

When Lemon Bay quarterback Hayden Wolff threw an 18-yard touchdown to Thomas Chaney with 4:21 left in the game, Lemon Bay was on the verge of victory. But Herard led a scoring drive less than a minute later, capped off with a 58-yard touchdown heave to Lawrence Canton.

The Titans’ two-point try to tie the game came up short, but Aidan Moore lost a fumble on the next possession, leaving the door open for a Golden Gate comeback.

“I was impressed with their toughness,” Southwell said of his team, which visits Port Charlotte (2-0) on Friday. “We’re driving to ice the game and we have a turnover. Lesser teams sometimes give in right there, but they continued to fight hard.”

 

LEMON BAY 21, GOLDEN GATE 19

Golden Gate 6 0 7 6 — 19

Lemon Bay 8 3 0 10 — 21

First Quarter 

LB — Aidan Moore 14 pass from Hayden Wolff (Moore run)

GG — Jay Herard 35 run (run failed)

Second Quarter

LB — John Moore 29 FG

Third Quarter

GG — Jouvensly Bazile 69 pass from Herard (Agustin Morales kick)

Fourth Quarter

LB — Moore 33 FG

LB — Thomas Chaney 18 pass from Wolff (Moore kick)

GG — Lawrence Canton 58 pass from Herard (run failed)

 

                                       GG          LB

First downs                  11           16

Rushes-yardds           26-165    35-167

Passing yards             269           97

C-A-I                           10-16-0     9-16-0

Fumbles-lost                 0-0           2-1

Individual stats

Rushing: Golden Gate: Herard 16-90, Bazile 7-74, Brawner 1-2, Guyadeene 2- (-1); Lemon Bay: Marinola 9-49, Chaney 5-42, Gossett 7-39, Moore 5-14, McCauley 6-14, Klocinski 3-9.

Passing: Golden Gate: Herard 10-16-269; Lemon Bay: Wolff 9-16-97.

Receiving: Golden Gate: Bazile 3-138, Canton 1-58, Liberal 4-50, Shadley 1-17, Guyadeene 1-6; Lemon Bay: Chaney 3-52, Moore 3-29, Gossett 1-9, Owen 1-4, Marinola 1-3.

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