ORANGE PARK - Four interceptions by the Orange Park secondary were not enough as the Raiders fell 26-7 to Lake City Columbia at Ridgeview High School in the district 3-3S opener for both teams on …
ORANGE PARK - Four interceptions by the Orange Park secondary were not enough as the Raiders fell 26-7 to Lake City Columbia at Ridgeview High School in the district 3-3S opener for both teams on October 7.
The first District 3-3S game for each team was played at Ridgeview due to renovations which have begun at Hoyt B. Cotney Field at Orange Park High School.
The Raiders picked off passes from Lake City quarterback Tyler Jefferson on the Tigers’ first three possessions, compelling Columbia coach Demetric Jackson to bench his Central Michigan commitment for the remainder of the game. Safety Dacarris Jacobs, cornerbacks Jermel Brown and Timothy Barfield and nickel back Larry Thomas all had interceptions for Orange Park.
“I knew we were going to have some opportunities to make interceptions,” said Raiders head coach Marcus Wimberly. “It was a little bit of both scheme and individuals making outstanding plays.”
On the Tigers’ opening possession, Brown leaped high to tip a deep pass intended for Dai’lyn Bradley, and then cradled the deflection to his chest as he went to the ground. The Raiders converted the turnover into points, marching 77 yards in 17 plays. Senior quarterback Durrionte “Bo” Myrick converted four third downs on the drive, three with passes and one with a nine yard scramble. Brown, a two-way player, scored the touchdown, hauling in a pass in traffic on a third down from the seven yard line. William Nicholson nailed the extra point to give Orange Park a 7-0 lead with 1:29 remaining in the first quarter.
Jacobs and Barfield thwarted Tiger drives that had reached Raiders territory in the second quarter. Jacobs intercepted a pass in the Orange Park end zone, undercutting a post route by Columbia’s Tra Tolliver and returning the ball out to the 12 yard line. Covering Keeven Young on a crossing route, Barfield stole a Jefferson pass at the Raiders 12 yard line, returning it 14 yards to the 26. While the thefts prevented the Tigers from scoring, Wimberly was a bit frustrated that the offense did not convert the other two turnovers into points.
When Columbia running back Tony Fulton powered over left guard for a four yard touchdown run with 2:53 remaining in the second quarter, Orange Park led just 7-6. The Tigers tried the same play that Fulton had scored on for a two-point conversion, but Darius Catron and Treyvon Tyrone combined to stop the senior short of the goal line.
Orange Park drove to the Tigers’ 24 yard line at the end of the second quarter, but a pass intended for Nolan Chambers fell incomplete at the four yard line as the horn sounded.
“We missed a ton of opportunities in the first half,” said Wimberly. “We needed the offense to produce.”
Normally a strength, Orange Park could not establish a running game. Running back Jojo Restall mustered just 12 yards on 12 carries in the first half. And after completing all four of his passes on the opening drive, Myrick connected on just three of 11 throws in the rest of the half.
The Tigers dominated the second half, ramping up their running game while throttling the Orange Park offense. The Raiders lost 11 yards on six second half rushes. Myrick, who had completed 7 of 14 throws for 113 yards in the first two quarters, appeared to suffer a serious injury to his left leg on the Raiders’ second possession. After he left the field on a stretcher, his replacement, Elijah Craggette, threw three interceptions and lost a fumble on a bad exchange with a running back.
Meanwhile, Columbia turned away from its passing game and pounded at the flanks of the Raiders defense with Fulton. After running the ball only 12 times, against 16 passing plays in the first half, Lake City dialed up 29 rushing plays in the second half, throwing only eight times. The plan worked, as the Tigers quickly moved 38 yards to paydirt after FSU commitment Camdon Frier returned the third quarter kickoff 35 yards. Jaylen Cooper’s four yard scoring run to the right side was the last of six consecutive running plays. Cooper then added a two point conversion on a counter play to give the Tigers a 14-6 lead two minutes into the third quarter.
After a 42 yard punt by Orange Park’s Christian Riviera-Lopez, Lake City drove 80 yards on its next possession. Backup quarterback Evan Umstead shoveled the ball forward to Bradley, who timed his pre-snap motion to be right in front of Umstead as Umstead caught the snap. Bradley took the pitch around right end, spun out of a tackle attempt at the second level and sprinted away from Jacobs and fellow safety Orlando Jackson to the end zone, extending the Tigers’ lead to 20-7 with 4:30 remaining in the third quarter.
The teams traded turnovers on the next three possessions. Craggette underthrew Treyvon Tyrone running up the seam and was intercepted by Columbia safety Amare Ferrell, an Indiana commit. Ferrell returned the ball 30 yards to the Columbia 42 yard line. Three plays later, hoping he would surprise the Raiders with a deep pass, Umstead looked down the right sideline for Tolliver. But Thomas was ready, and the nickelback stepped in front of the pass and intercepted it. Thomas’ 25 yard return brought the ball to the Orange Park 30 yard line
On the next play, Craggette tried to hit Chambers on an out pattern, but the ball did not fly far enough to clear the Tigers’ Markeyon Moore in his zone coverage. Moore seized the pass and sprinted 43 yards to the end zone to give the Tigers an insurmountable 26-7 lead with eight seconds left in the third quarter.
Neither team scored in the final stanza as the Tigers mostly ran the ball to bleed the clock and Orange Park failed to mount a drive. The loss of Myrick clearly hurt the Raiders.
“When our quarterback went down, that changed the whole game,” said Wimberly. “Myrick did well, he was dialed in. I feel really bad for him, though his career is not over if he does not want it to be.”
Fulton finished with 124 yards rushing on 18 carries for Lake City, which enjoyed a 382-172 advantage in total offense. The Tigers, now 3-3, host Middleburg in a District 3-3S contest on October 14.
Chambers led all receivers with 103 yards on six catches for Orange Park. The Raiders, now 1-5, return to Ridgeview for the second week in a row on October 14, facing the Panthers in another District 3-3S game.
“Our guarantee [guaranteed path to the playoffs] is gone now,” said Wimberly. “But if we beat Middleburg and Middleburg beats Lake City, we can win the district. And we have to take care of Ridgeview.”