CORTLAND - A backyard rivalry last week didn't go the way the Howland Tigers had hoped.
When the Tigers went calling on another neighbor Friday night the result was more favorable. Bruised and missing some key parts after their loss to Warren G. Harding, the Tigers found some internal strength to pull out a 22-18 win over the Lakeview Bulldogs.
Tigers running back De'Veon Smith, who was perhaps hurting the most with a sore right shoulder, saved a 47-yard run for late in the fourth quarter. He scored from the 2-yard line two plays later to provide the margin of difference.
Tribune Chronicle / Michael Taylor
Howland’s De’Veon Smith, right, is brought down by Lakeview’s Brandon Bensing after picking up a first down. Smith’s touchdown in fourth quarter gave Howland the victory over Lakeview, 22-18.
"I owe it to my offensive line and teammates for pushing me through," Smith said as he walked to the team bus with ice on the shoulder and a grimace on his face. "I got a little sore on my shoulder, but I kept on pushing and my line pushed me to the end zone and helped me out."
The Tigers improved their record to 2-1. The Bulldogs are 1-2.
Lakeview almost had some late heroics that would have trumped Smith's efforts. Starting their final possession with 1:11 remaining in the fourth period, the Bulldogs moved to the Tigers' 10 on five plays, including a 49-yard pass from Erich Schmitt to Elijah Henderson, who made a spectacular leaping catch over a defender. The Bulldogs weren't able to score a game-winning touchdown as Schmitt, who passed for 169 yards, threw three incomplete passes, including a fourth-down toss in the back of the end zone for Jake Pishotti. On second down Henderson was stopped for no gain.
It was a bitter defeat for the Bulldogs, who had a 334-258 advantage in total yards.
"We played hard," Bulldogs coach Tom Pavlansky said. "We set the goal this week that we wanted to play tougher than we did last week. I think the answer to that question was yes. We played tougher and more together. We just ended on the short end of the stick. More than anything else time ran out and they have a difference-maker."
Tigers coach Dick Angle went into the game without two key injured starters receiver/cornerback Brenden Cope and linebacker/fullback Tyler Drass. Smith, who missed most of the Harding game after hurting the shoulder, played through pain.
"We don't like losing to anybody," Angle said. "To bounce back after losing for the first time after 25 games is a strength of our guys that they never quit. Smith did a great job on the defensive side as well as the offensive side. Obviously his run at the end sealed the deal for us."
Smith finished with 183 yards on 26 carries.
"We came together really strong," Smith said. "Once we get knocked down, we're trained to get back up. We're always going to keep on fighting. That's why we're Tigers. That's why we had a pulse."
The Bulldogs opened the scoring with a 44-yard scoring pass from Schmitt to Pishotti to complete an eight-play, 83-yard march in the first quarter. The Tigers' first score came on a 31-yard field goal by Kyle Noble early in the second period.
Evan McCollum scored on a 1-yard run for the Bulldogs to complete a 16-play, 74-yard drive at the 4:10 mark of the second quarter. Later in the period the Tigers marched 53 yards on five plays to score on an 8-yard pass from Eric Lockney to Trey Bryarly with 6.4 seconds remaining before halftime to cut the Bulldogs' lead to 12-10. Lockney also completed passes of 20 and 10 yards to Chris Maze on the march.
The Tigers took a 16-12 lead in the third quarter on a 1-yard run by Ralph Robinson. The 34-yard drive was set up when T.K. Fortson snuffed out a fake punt by Henderson and made the stop 3 yards shy of the first-down marker.
"My coaches taught me well; how to pursue and be ready for anything," Fortson said. "We were prepared all week for the game and we knew what was coming. Just sit and read. I had a feeling it was coming. I went for it, and sure enough I was right."
Trailing 16-12, Lakeview reduced the deficit to one point on a 28-yard field goal by Pishotti at the 2:44 mark of the third period. Pishotti made a 36-yard field goal with 2:25 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Bulldogs an 18-16 lead.
"When you play Tom Pavlansky and his football team, you're going to have to compete against a team like that," Angle said. "They have fundamental stuff they do offensively and defensively. They just kept coming back. We had a couple of chances to strike them down and they didn't go down."