Kathleen Has a Devil of A Time With Jenkins, Wins 20-18
Fri. September 07, 2012 at 8:49 p.m. | By Solange Reyner
George Jenkins #7 Tanner Reeves holds onto Kathleen 's #24 Rovonta Johnson in first half action at Kathleen High School in Lakeland, Fl. Friday September 9 , 2012. (Photo by Ernst Peters/The Ledger. )
By SOLANGE REYNER
LAKELAND | Kathleen's offense looked battered, its defense bruised after George Jenkins put a hurting on the Red Devils through nearly four quarters of football.
Tanner Reeves kept picking away at Kathleen's offensive line, breaking through for five sacks, and running back Trent Rains kept pounding through the defensive line, racking up a touchdown and 124 yards on 15 carries.
But despite a handful of penalties and a few dropped passes that had Kathleen's offense looking like a sputtering old car, the Red Devils busted through with big plays when it mattered most to beat Jenkins 20-18 Friday night at Johnny Johnson Field.
Rovonta Johnson scored with 1:22 left after a fantastic 38-yard pass play from A'Treyu Farrior to Ja'Von Harrison put the team in the red zone. It was Harrison's second big play of the game after a nonchalant first half where he only had 22 yards receiving and a couple of dropped passes. In the fourth, with 3:13 left, he hauled in a 75-yarder on a hitch play to put Kathleen within range, 18-13.
"That's a situation where we just have to make a play," Jenkins' coach Eric Gallon said.
The Eagles (0-2) were close. They had an 11-point lead after the third and had Kathleen (2-0) on the ropes by pitting Farrior deep behind the line of scrimmage several times. Reeves led the charge on that front, and he was excited that his team was in the driver's seat so late in the game.
"It felt awesome. I thought we were going to start winning again and that would have been nice to break that 0-12 streak that we carried from last season," Reeves said. "We just have to learn to finish."
Kathleen did by continuing to pick away through the air.
Farrior, who went 11-for-23 with 165 yards passing, threw seven incomplete passes before connecting with Harrison for the big one.
"He was quiet for a big part of the game," Johnson said of Harrison. "So I knew when he came back to the huddle and demanded the ball I knew he would break one off. I felt it."
Kathleen's defense stood its ground in the final minute to help the Red Devils rally back from the 11-point deficit.
Jenkins struck early when Rains broke loose for a 55-yard touchdown on the third play of the game. Five minutes later, John Liptak pummeled his way to the end zone down the right side of the field after catching a 20-yard pass from junior quarteback Jaylen Odum. That put Jenkins up 12-0 — both kicks failed — and Kathleen failed to answer back until midway through the third quarter in large part because of penalties.
Kathleen posted 90 yards of penalties through the first half.
"I feel like we snuck out with a win. I really do," Kathleen coach Irving Strickland said. "They beat us. They created turnovers and they played well. But you can't ever count my kids out."