Lakeland Routs Flanagan, 27-7
Fri. September 14, 2012 at 11:20 p.m. | By Solange Reyner
Lakeland High School running back Dwight Ra'Don (25) breaks a tackle by Flanagan High School linebackers Thoby Jean-Bart (20) and Austin Hernandez (36) as he goes on to score Lakeland's first touchdown during the first quarter of their game at Bryant Stadium in Lakeland Friday night. September 14, 2012. (Photo by The Ledger/Michael Wilson)
By SOLANGE REYNER
LAKELAND | It's not often Lakeland head football coach Bill Castle starts a sophomore. But with senior Robert Smith out with an ankle injury, the situation warranted for one to step in at the running back spot Friday night when Lakeland hosted Flanagan at Bryant Stadium.
And Ra'Don Dwight eased into the role quickly despite an awkward feeling before kickoff, his 109 yards rushing on 17 carries helping Lakeland's bruising ground attack beat Flanagan, 27-7, in a non-district match-up.
"I was kind of scared and a little worried since it was my first start but I think I did excellent," Dwight said.
"My stomach felt a little weird before the game but once it started I was ready to play."
He broke off three long runs, including a 27-yard scamper down the left side of the field in the first quarter that opened the scoring for Lakeland, which racked up 223 yards behind Dwight and quarterback Isaiah Walker. Walker had 77 yards on the ground and senior linebacker TJ Simmons, who is used in short yardage situations on offense, had two touchdowns for Lakeland.
"Their run game was exceptional," Flanagan coach Don Simon said.
"We stopped them at times but it wasn't enough."
The Dreadnaughts (3-0) only attempted four passes but they didn't need to mix it up because of the success they were having on the ground.
They did score on a pass play in the third, though, when Braxton Huggins caught a 13-yarder on third and ten on Flanagan's 13-yard line late in the third quarter.
Lakeland is considered a run-first team and has been for quite some time. But the offensive line was a bit suspect coming into the season, a point of weakness, Castle said.
"Without a doubt and maybe still is," Castle said.
"But they had their biggest game of the year so far and Ra'Don had some good physical runs."
Helping him out were Blake Gill, Devonte Mackey, Jonathan Niblack, Devon Denson and Kevin Fisher.
Flanagan (2-1) came into the game averaging 45 points a game, but its offense looked rattled and its receivers out of sync with sophomore quarterback Ryan Stanley.
Flanagan scored once in the third quarter when Emonee Spence caught a 13-yard pass from Stanley.
First downs 12 15
Rushes/Yards 17-10 50-223
Passing 26-49-0 2-4-0
Passing Yards 138 41
Total Yards 148 264
Fumbles/Lost 0-0 2-0
Sacks 0 2
Punts/avg. 6-31.8 6-31.3
Penalties/Yards 3-30 8-65
Records 2-1 3-0
Flanagan 0 0 7 0 – 7
Lakeland 7 7 6 7 – 27
LHS -- Ra'Don Dwight 27 run (Caleb Hough kick), :46.6
LHS -- T.J. Simmons 1 run (Hough kick), 8:31.
LHS -- Braxton Huggins 13 pass from Isaiah Walker (kick failed), 3:01.
FLAN -- Emonee Spence 12 pass from Ryan Stanley (Giancarlo Bonilla kick), :20.7.
LHS -- T.J. Simmons 2 run (Hough kick), 8:38