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Lake County Sentinel
Lakeside sets school record, prevails in 68-62 slugfest over Harvey

           BY JUSTIN LADA
It took a school record 68 points, over 200 yards from a freshman running back, mixing and matching skill position players due to injuries and a win-sealing interception from a freshman two-way player, but the Lakeside Dragons put a notch in the win column in 2019 for the first time, improving to 1-5 (1-2 CVC) with a 68-62 effort over the Harvey Red Raiders (1-5, 0-3).

In the second overtime senior running back Tyrell Meeks plunged into the end zone for a touchdown, his fifth score of the night for the Dragons. Then freshman Angelo Collazo picked off Harvey when it tried to tie the game on the next possession of overtime to claim victory in a hard fought battle.

"If it wasn't for my teammates to put us in the situation we were in, scoring touchdowns left and right and then that big interception at the time," Collazo said. "It was my first in high school, my first time playing offense and defense. I'm just so happy."

Lakeside freshman running back J'Shon Sanders carried a big load for the Dragons as well, finishing the first half with over 200 yards and added a touchdown himself.

"It was crazy, I loved it. I just gave all I had to give and the line blocked for me, I love them and my whole team," Sanders said of the back and forth slugfest win by his team.

The first half ended 36-36 with neither team punting, turning it over on downs or even reaching a fourth down for that matter. 

Even when it came to defense, the biggest plays by either side turned into a score. A fumble by Lakeside picked up by Gil Kalina Hammond for a touchdown for Harvey and an interception for a touchdown by AJ Raffa were added in the first half. Hammond's fumble return gave Harvey a 16-8 lead and Raffa's pick-six put Lakeside back ahead, 36-28 at the end of the first half.

Jaden Debevec's touchdown pass to Hammond tied the game at 36-36 for Harvey as the clocked ticked away at the end of the first half and then to start the second half he found Hammond again on a wheel route to go ahead 42-36.

Garrette Siebeneck and the Dragons responded with a touchdown pass and converted their two point conversion to make it 44-42.

It really seemed like it was going to come down to who had the ball last, but the two teams struggled to punch in their two point conversions at the end of the game. 

Will Grimes found the end zone for Harvey with 1:35 to play to go up 56-50, but there was still enough time for Raffa to score for Lakeside with just seven seconds remaining.

Lakeside was without its kicker due to illness and attempted its only kick of the night after Raffa's touchdown but saw it blocked, sending the thriller to overtime.

Hammond scored the first overtime touchdown for Harvey but Lakeside tied it up, scored on another Meeks run and then had the pick by Collazo to come away victorious after a long night.

"They've been through a lot of practice, in the hallways because they're part of a culture change. That's not easy for the parents, coaching staff or them. They deserve that win," Lakeside coach Buzz Edwards said.

As for his young team getting game deciding contributions from some of its youngest players, Edwards said he's seen it coming in spurts throughout the season and was proud of how they pulled it out at the end.

"We have some good young players. We only have five seniors and two juniors. We're full of freshman and seniors and it's their time to go. It's their time and have said it for a couple weeks, getting our heads bashed in playing some good football programs. They played against kids their age at the end of the game and we looked good. It was good to see our kids get out here, compete and keep swinging and fighting," Edwards said.

While Lakeside claimed its first 2019 victory and first Chagrin Valley Conference win, Harvey understandably will feel the sting of a loss where both teams fought very hard with a lot of players and back and forth on the first chilly night of the season.

"There's not much to say. The kids are exhausted but they fought. We're a bit defeated right now but I'm proud of the way we fought," Harvey coach Dan Cvelbar said. "It's hard to digest this at this moment, but they did battle and I'm proud of those guys."

Lakeside has a tough test in county rival Geneva in week seven while Harvey will host another tough CVC foe, West Geauga.
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​POSTED 10/05/2019 00:41
Photo by Justin Lada