Lakeland Survives in Defensive Battle With Bartow, 17-10 (OT)
Sat. September 29, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. | By Mike Cobb
Lakeland DEFENSIVE END Jalen Stevenson celebrates one of his four sacks of Bartow quarterback Dimitri Leverett during Friday night's game. (Photo by SCOTT WHEELER | THE LEDGER )
BY MIKE COBB
LAKELAND | It's been nine years, almost to the day that Lakeland High School's football team lost to another Polk County squad.
Friday night, that streak came close to being snapped as the Dreadnaughts had to go to overtime to defeat Bartow 17-10 before 5,000 at Bryant Stadium.
The last Polk County team to beat Lakeland was George Jenkins on Oct. 3, 2003.
The winning touchdown in overtime was 16-yard pass on third down from Isaiah Walker to Jacquan Foster.
"The linebacker put his eyes on the flat route and I just put the ball over his head," Walker said.
The rest of the game between the two oldest football programs in the county was an old-fashioned defensive slugfest.
"They have a good defensive team," Lakeland coach Bill Castle said about Bartow. "They're quick. They run to the ball and they were playing with a lot of emotion and intensity."
Lakeland's defense, however, matched Bartow almost tackle for tackle turning the game in a night of limited opportunities for both offenses.
Bartow held Lakeland to 201 total yards, while the Dreadnaughts held Bartow to 81. That included five quarterback sacks, four by Lakeland defensive end Jalen Stevenson, for minus 35 yards.
"I thought our individual effort was good," Bartow coach Brett Biggs said. "We put ourselves in some good situations, but we have to execute.
"If you don't execute, you don't come away with the game ending the way you want it to end," Biggs said.
Bartow's possession in overtime ended when Lakeland's Tre Dempsey intercepted a fourth-and-16 Dimitri Leverett pass in the end zone.
The game was tied 3-3 heading into the fourth quarter.
Lakeland scored on a 1-yard sneak by Walker after after Bartow's punter had to go to a knee to field a punt snap at the Lakeland 4.
Bartow answered with a 74-yard kickoff return by Vontarius West with 8:39 to play and it was tied again.
"It was, I guess, a good specator's game," Castle said.
Especially if you like defense.
Both teams return to district play next Friday. Lakeland plays at Lake Region in Class 7A, District 5. Bartow is at Kathleen in Class 6A-10.
Bartow 0 3 0 7 0 — 10
Lakeland 0 3 0 7 7 — 17
L — Caleb Hough 33 FG, 10:58.
B — Alex Montes 23 FG, 5:36.
L — Isaiah Walker 1 run (Caleb Hough kick), 8:51.
B — Vontarius West 74 kick return (Alex Montes kick), 8:39.
LHS -- Jacquan Foster 16 pass from Isaiah Walker (Hough kick).
First Downs 8 11
Rushes/yards 35/20 35/125
Passing yards 61 76
Passing 8-12-1 10-15-1
Total offense 81 201
Fumbles/Lost 1/0 1/1
Punts/avg 3/39.0 3.30.3
Penalties/yds 6/31 10/78
Records 3-2 5-0
Rushing: BHS — Michael Walker 17-27; LHS — Robert Smith 19-82
Passing: BHS — Dimitri Leverett 8-11-1, 61 yards; LHS — Isaiah Walker 10-15-1, 76 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: BHS — Jeramy Williams 3-40; LHS — Shaquan Perkins 4-24.