Vikings, Miners Look To Take Charge in 3A-6
Fri. October 19, 2012 at 2:09 a.m. | By Solange Reyner
Fort Meade High School's De'vante Clark (28) scores his team's third touchdown against Lakeland Christian School during the first half of their game at Lakeland Christian School Friday night. October 21, 2011. (Photo by Michael Wilson | The Ledger)
By SOLANGE REYNER
LAKELAND | There's a lot on the line tonight when Lakeland Christian's football team packs up its bus and makes the 30-mile trek south to Fort Meade. Both teams are 1-0 in district play, and a win would mean possession of the driver's seat in the four team, 3A-6 district.
"If we win this game, we put ourselves in a pretty good position. And we know they have to be thinking the same thing," Fort Meade coach Jemalle Cornelius said. "It's a big game for them in terms of where they want to get as a program, and they want to beat us and we know that. We have to make sure we're prepared to play."
For Fort Meade, that means slowing down Lakeland Christian's explosive offense.
The Vikings (5-1) are averaging 321 yards per game, 186 passing and 135.7 rushing, with quarterback Christian Alexander, wide receiver Jordan White and running back Rafeal Pressley the key skill players that make them go.
Alexander has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,116 yards and 14 touchdowns, limiting turnovers to three, with White as his main target. White has caught 22 passes for 374 yards, averaging 17 yards per reception for the Vikings, who have won four games in a row.
Pressley, who stepped in for starter T.J. Simmons when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament early in the season, has rushed for 611 yards on 56 carries.
"They run the ball well, and Jordan is a pretty good athlete," Fort Meade defensive back Devin McCalebb said. "They also play hard no matter who they play. I went to watch them play Cardinal Mooney, and they were tough. They're going to hit you in the mouth."
Being extra aggressive, Lakeland Christian coach Wayne Peace said, is what he needs from his squad tonight.
"Fort Meade deserves all the hype and credit they're getting because they're a very good football team," Peace said. "We have to come out and match that intensity for us to be successful."
And they also have to stop running back De'Vante Clark, a hard-nosed runner for Fort Meade who has been hobbled by minor injuries this season. Despite the hindrances, he's still rushed for 412 yards for the Miners, whose lone loss is a close one to Ridge Community this year.
"We definitely think we're up for the challenge," Lakeland Christian defensive end Scott Benton said. "He's a great player, and their quarterback (Jay Smith) is talented and can move well, too. We'll just give it everything we've got."
Benton & Co. know if they don't they'll likely be digging themselves out of a hole in order to get a playoff bid. That happened last year when Cardinal Mooney, Frostproof and LCS were tied for second in the district.
The Vikings lost to Frostproof, 6-0, in a 12-minute quarter and were bounced from a playoff berth.
"We don't want that to happen again," said Phil Wilsman, a defensive end and tight end for LCS. "We learned our lesson last year."
[Solange Reyner may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 863-802-7526.]