News-Sun photo by DAN HOEHNE Eldon McKenzie broke this long run for 46 yards and would soon throw a halfback pass for a touchdown to complete this drive Friday.
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published: Sunday, October 07, 2012
wear down Lake Placid
By DAN HOEHNE
LAKE PLACID - The skies were dark and foreboding Friday night as the Green Dragons hoped to make it through their Homecoming game and festivities.
And while the rains held off, allowing the King and Queen to be crowned at halftime, eight Tornadoes touched down during the game itself to pave the way for a 57-27 win by visiting Sarasota Booker.
"They had some big plays," head coach Jason Holden said afterward. "We had some big plays of our own, but with our numbers, they just wore us down."
Those numbers would be the few players Lake Placid has left, with their early season 33-man roster having been whittled down by injuries to just over 20.
And yet, the Dragons certainly were holding their own in the early going and even got on the board first.
After each team had two possessions go unfulfilled, a Booker punt late in the first quarter was shanked toward the Lake Placid sideline.
With a number of Tornado defenders racing upfield and, as yet, unaware of the wayward trajectory of the punt, Roscoe Johnson ran up and collected it on a bounce and raced 30 yards for the opening score.
Freddy Moreno's point-after kick split the uprights and the Dragons were up 7-0 with 3:34 left in the opening period.
But it took just 14 seconds for the first Tornado damage of the night when, on their first play from scrimmage on the next series, a 53-yard touchdown run got Booker on the board.
The extra point was blocked by Chase Griffin, to momentarily maintain a 7-6 lead.
Lake Placid's defense held strong after that, and the offense soon began to move.
Marquavian Copeland carried twice for seven yards, bridging the first and second quarters, and an offside penalty was followed by a Robert Walton Jr. to Dillon Hathaway pass for six yards.
Eldon McKenzie broke off a seven-yard gain on the ground.
But a QB sack and incompletion were followed by a Booker interception to put an end to the surge.
The Tornadoes then embarked on a 14-play drive that saw the Dragon defense bend, but not break, as they eventually stopped it short of a score and got the ball back on downs at their own 16.
This drive, however, would be short lived and Booker showed its' quick-strike ability as just five plays later, an 18-yard pass play took the lead over with 56 seconds left in the half.
Another interception halted the Dragons near midfield and after an incompletion, an apparent end-around turned out to be a halfback pass that caught Lake Placid flat-footed and upped the lead to 20-7 at halftime.
And though this quick double whammy could have served as a knockout, the Dragons were about to get up off the canvas.
Early in the third, Foster Walker broke off a long run and Copeland broke through some tackles on a run that brought it to the 14.
Eldon McKenzie bulled it ahead five yards to get inside the 10 and Walton found Ricky Miller in the end zone.
Moreno's kick made it 20-14 at the 8:18 mark.
The Tornadoes, though, would answer right back, with two 17-yard pass plays and an 18-yard run leading to another score to push the lead back to 26-14.
But Lake Placid had an answer of its' own as Walton and Miller hooked up again just a minute and a half later to cut it to 26-20.
Another Booker score came 1:18 later and it was at this point that the tide seemed to turn.
With few players to substitute, the starters were logging heavy and extended minutes and this furious, back-and-forth flurry began to wear them down.
Then the Tornadoes got a bit of a lucky bounce as a downfield pass over the middle ricocheted off the intended receiver, but bounced right two a secondary receiver for a score to make it 42-20 with just under two minutes left in the third.
Another Booker score early in the fourth pushed the lead to 50-20, but the Dragons would have one more swing.
McKenzie ran through a couple initial, would-be tacklers and broke it outside for a 46-yard run to the Tornado four.
Three straight runs up the middle netted zero yards, but a bit of trickery got the job done as a pitch to McKenzie in the backfield saw the junior southpaw toss it to a wide open Miller for his third touchdown catch of the night.
Moreno's boot was true and it was now 50-27.
But the dye was cast and this was the last hurrah for the worn down Dragons, as Booker would break the plane of the goal line one more time to provide for the final margin.
But while outgunned and outmanned this night, the effort this Lake Placid squad turned in was impressive.
"You can't say enough about how hard these kids keep playing," Holden said. "It's tough when you're overmatched with the numbers week after week. But they keep coming out and keep working.
"We're seeing a lot of positives," he continued. "There are still mistakes out there that we need to clean up, but I couldn't be prouder of the effort these players keep putting in and we'll keep moving forward."
And if there was any worry about a morale boost needed, moving forward, the Dragons will certainly be motivated in practice this week as they are slated for a visit to Avon Park Friday.
Tornados (by: Carole Fields - 10/7/2012)
I was a bit concerned when I read of Tornados touching down in Lake Placid, then relieved after further reading that the Tornados were a football team.
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