The return of starting quarterback Marcus Miles was not enough to spark the Seahawks to victory - but it was close.
Miles, who was medically cleared to play just hours before kickoff, looked tentative at first but gained confidence as the game went on against the Wildcats. The news was welcoming to Coach Jason Hescock. “It was great to have Miles back, it required us to change our game plan a little, but he allowed us to be more multi-dimensional and attack Centreville in different ways.”
A quick strike by Centreville on their first play from scrimmage gave the Wildcats the early lead and a score on their second possession made it look like it would be a long night for the Seahawks but, once composed, the Seahawks were able to claw back into the game with a rushing touchdown by Miles with 4 minutes left in the half. For Hescock, the first quarter challenges seemed to take root earlier in the week. “We had a bad practice Monday, but we were solid the rest of the week. That practice equaled our first quarter tonight. Moving forward we can’t have a bad day at practice because it translated to the game.”
The teams were well matched statistically with South Lakes out-gaining the Wildcats on the ground while the Wildcats held the advantage in the air. Both teams missed field goals of similar distance in the third quarter and had similar numbers in total offense. While Centreville deployed three running backs on the night, South Lakes coach Jason Hescock relied on senior running back James Earl to do most of the work. With the return of Miles under center, senior Joseph Dagbe was able to move to his more traditional wide receiver role and forced Centreville to guard against the pass opening up rushing lanes that Earl was able to exploit. Earl went on to gain 82 yards on the night and was difficult to bring down, often dragging several Wildcat defenders with him.
After early struggles, the Seahawk defense intercepted Centreville twice to end promising drives that threatened to put the game out of reach. Junior defender Nick Haitz led all Seahawks with seven tackles, an interception, and had several momentum-stopping hits against the Wildcat running backs. A change in protection schemes eliminated the blocked punts that plagued the Seahawks the previous week and forced the Wildcats to often start deep in their own territory. With time winding down, a 63-yard bomb from Miles to Dagbe brought the Seahawks within 3 points with seconds left, but the ensuing on-side kick fell into the hands of the Wildcats who only had to kneel on the next play to put an end to the night and deliver the second straight loss to a South Lakes program that had not lost back to back games since the 2014 season.
Next week the Seahawks will travel to face the undefeated West Springfield Spartans. Looking forward, Hecock talked focus, “We need to stay consistent throughout the game. The past 2 weeks we’ve been just a few plays away from victory, our mistakes have been more mental than physical and we’ve been our worst opponent. West Springfield has an athletic quarterback who can run and pass so we’ll need to be disciplined on our pass coverage.”
Tonight the South Lakes Seahawks (1-2) will travel to play the West Springfield Spartans (3-0). Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm.