Lake comeback falls just short
By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
Aug. 29, 2003
LAKE Lake head coach Ed Amis didn't like everything he saw in the Hornets' 27-18 loss to Morton Thursday night at A.F. Hollingsworth Field, but some things he saw were definitely to his liking.
Showing a no-quit attitude, Lake scored two touchdowns in the final 3:30 after Morton had gone up 27-6.
The season opener for both Scott County teams was played in a steady drizzle throughout most of the night.
Morton went up 6-0 with 2:16 left in the first quarter when Nick Robinson muffed a punt, scooped it up, and weaved his way through the Hornets for a 59-yard scoring jaunt. The extra point attempt failed.
The Panthers made it 12-0 with 7:40 remaining in the first half when Jamal Bennett capped a 10-play, 67-yard drive with a 38-yard gallop down the Morton sideline after breaking a tackle near the line of scrimmage. The extra point went wide right.
Aided by a 36-yard pass from Joseph Hunt to Ivon Hickmon, Lake reached the Morton 18 late in the first half only to come away empty when a fourth-and-16 pass fell incomplete in the end zone.
Morton made a bid to extend its lead before intermission, but Paul Burrage ended the threat when he recovered a Cedric Cox fumble at the Lake 13.
The Hornets were able to run out the first half with a 12-0 deficit.
Lake marched from its 30 to the Morton 13 to start the second half only to turn the ball over on downs at the 15 to halt the eight-play drive. The big gainer was a 35-yard run to the 22 by Damion Gray.
The Hornets recovered a fumble by Morton quarterback Shay Hodge at the Lake 36 to stop a 10-play drive by the Panthers.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Hunt hit Danny Towner on a fly pattern to bring the Hornets to within 12-6 with 11:50 remaining. A bad snap on the extra point resulted in the Panthers picking off a desperation two-point try by Hunt.
Lake appeared to have wrestled all the momentum away from Morton when a third-and-8 pass from the Panthers 31 fell incomplete. However, the Hornets were penalized 15 yards for a late hit on Hodge.
Given a reprieve, Morton drove to the Lake 25 where Lake's Terrell Ricks recovered a fumble.
Facing third-and-6 from their 36, the Hornets were victimized by a bizarre play that saw Morton's J.D. Ficklin pick Hunt's pocket from behind on a pass attempt and race 28 yards untouched to the end zone. Robinson took a late pitchout from Hodge for a two-point conversion and a 20-6 lead with 6:41 remaining.
Morton went up 27-6 with only 3:35 to go when Henry Parrott scored from a yard out after the Panthers held Lake on downs at the Lake 40. Hodge hit Corey Steele for 37 yards to set up the score.
Lake refused to lay down.
Towner returned the kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown with the Hornets recovering the onside kick at the 50. Hunt dove into the end zone as time expired to pull Lake to within 27-18.
Since the contest was not a division game and since even a successful two-point try would not have affected who won, no conversion was allowed.
Lake travels to Raleigh next Friday. The Lions are led by former Lake head coach Durwood Anderson.