Lakeland's Defense Stiff In Preseason Opener Win Over Lake Gibson, 23-0
Sat. August 25, 2012 at 12:27 a.m. | By Solange Reyner
Lakeland's Jalen Stevenson pressures Lake Gibson quarterback Trey Congdon during Friday night's game. (Photo by SCOTT WHEELER | THE LEDGER )
By SOLANGE REYNER
LAKELAND | Lakeland coach Bill Castle may still not be settled on a starting quarterback, but it looks like he'll have time to weigh his options a bit more because his defense can hold it down until things get rolling more efficiently on the offensive side of the ball.
Lakeland beat Lake Gibson 23-0 on Friday night in the preseason kickoff classic held at Lake Gibson, and did it by suffocating quarterback Trey Congdon and steam rolling his offensive line. The front four put so much pressure on Congdon, a junior, that he moved into a shotgun formation after the second half.
"I was trying to get a little deeper and get away from the pressure," Congdon said.
He fared better when he did, throwing 42 of his 62 yards in that half, but still only managed to get in the red zone once. Even then, at Lakeland's 8-yard line on fourth down, Lake Gibson didn't capitalize because of a solid defensive play by a Lakeland defender, senior defensive back D.J. Alexander. Alexander broke up a pass intended for Eric Carter on the right side of the end zone late in the third, his hand coming over Carter's back to tear it away from him.
He was one of many standouts on defense for Lakeland, which finished with three sacks and at least six quarterback hurries. Jalen Stevenson had a sack, as did junior Sherby Saimplice and senior Josef Mayer. And Saimplice and Mayer are only first-year starters.
Saimplice, who plays on the right side, said that at times he had trouble keeping up with Stevenson, a senior defensive end and three-year starter.
"I was tired but I had to keep up and keep that fatigue under control. We had to make sure we stuck with our assignments even though it was challenging," Saimplice said.
It didn't look challenging. Lakeland's front line made things look easy, and the defense as a whole held Lake Gibson to 117 yards of total offense.
"They played good, the whole defense did. That's where our strength is, no doubt about it," Castle said.
On offense, quarterback Isaiah Walker starred for Lakeland. The senior put up solid numbers — 135 yards passing and 60 rushing with three touchdowns — but Castle said he's not certain he'll keep him in that role all season. Aaron Johnson, who played late in spurts, can still vie for time. On Friday, Castle liked what he saw from Walker from the beginning, so he let him run the show.
Lakeland 7 0 9 7 - 23
Lake Gibson 0 0 0 0 - 0
LHS — Xavier Stann 22 pass from Isaiah Walker (Caleb Hough kick), 6:32
LHS — Isaiah Walker 32 run (kick failed), 6:17
LHS — Caleb Hough 28 FG, 5:52
LHS — Isaiah Walker 1 run (Caleb Hough kick), 8:30
[Solange Reyner may be reached at 863-802-7526 or firstname.lastname@example.org]