Despite fumbles on both sides, Bartow clearly outplayed Lake Region Friday night in Eagle Lake, silencing the Thunder 37-10.
Lake Region’s Andre Palmer received opening kickoff to begin the game between the Thunder and the Bartow Yellow Jackets on a beautiful Friday evening in Eagle Lake.
Running out of the I-formation the Thunder kept it on the ground for a series of successful first downs until a quarterback fumble inside the 30-yard line resulted in a turnover. The Bartow defense recovered for an easy touchdown followed by a successful kick for the extra point.
Again, the Thunder fumbled but this time early on first down, after having receiving a very deep punt by punter Alex Montes. Bartow’s special teams simply did not allow much yardage on the return. The Thunder recovered and with a strong running game, Lake Regional’s Aaron Garrison got a big run to the Bartow 35-yard line. A fumble later from Garrison inside the red zone turned the ball back over to Bartow.
Bartow’s Roy’Qies Graham created lots of excitement when he broke a huge 30-yard run only to have it called back due to a penalty. Two plays later Bartow fumbled inside their 30-yard line with the Thunder recovering for what should have been an easy touchdown. However, it was fumbled again by the Thunder and recovered. Running back Garrison would go on to run for the touchdown. With the successful extra point, the Thunder tied the score at 7-7.
The fumbling continued as Bartow lost the ball, but recovered it. Penalties set up a third and 27 for the Yellow Jackets at their own 32-yard line while a defensive penalty moved the ball up to the 38. Yet another penalty by the Thunder moved it to the 42-yard line.
Bartow capitalized on the momentum with an exciting 45-yard completion by Dimitri Leverett to receiver Jeremy Williams to close out the first-quarter.
Unfortunately, switching ends of the field to begin the second quarter seemed to throw the Bartow offense off-balance a bit and they fumbled on the first play inside the red zone.
Lake Region got the ball back with Bartow missing a great opportunity for a score. However, Bartow wasn’t alone as both teams recorded fumbles during the first half while inside the red zone. Not long after though, the Jackets avenged their earlier error to score with a run by Eric Rookard and with the extra point, Bartow led by seven.
Later in the second half, Lake Region was stopped by the Bartow defense inside their own 10-yard line. Their punt was returned by Bartow’s special-teams punt returner from near the 40-yard line for a touchdown. The extra point was good, extending the Bartow lead by 14.
Behind 21-7, the Thunder fired back with a great punt return to place the ball just inside the Bartow 50-yard line. From there Andre Palmer received a first-down throw from quarterback Lawrence Thompson to place the ball just inside the 20-yard line.
Thompson threw an interception and Bartow picked up the ball on the five-yard line. The Jackets kept the ball on the ground to run out the clock and wrap up the first half.
Lake Region started the second half with some great running from their backs to move inside the Bartow 20-yard line. A holding call on their offensive line sent the ball back 10 yards but they were still in good scoring position. Lake Region’s quarterback Lawrence Thompson went for a receiver in the end zone, but the Yellow Jackets’ defense intercepted the pitch for a touchback and possession again at the 20-yard line.
Rookard created more excitement for Bartow fans as he broke open a huge run to the 47-yard line. Two plays later Rookard did it again with another run — this time for 25 yards. A third run in excess of 25 yards earned the Jackets their fourth touchdown of the night.
Some really exciting running was part of this Friday’s game and lots of reps for Rookard. The extra point was good and Bartow was up 28-7.
Bartow’s steady running of the ball advanced them inside the Thunder’s 20 to the 15-yard line to end the third quarter. For a second time, the Jackets found themselves inside the red zone at the end of a quarter when they must swap ends of the field. Again, this fact didn’t fare well for them as the Lake Region defense scored a huge play with a hit, heard clearly from the stands, behind the line of scrimmage by linebacker Renel Guerera. The Thunder offense responded to the momentum given them by their defense with a connection from Thompson to Palmer for a gain of 35 yards. Lake Region scored a 37-yard field goal to make it 28-10 with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Bartow scored a two-point safety against the Thunder offense. With 1:15 to go Rookard ran from inside the 30-yard line for Bartow scoring another touchdown, giving Bartow a 37-10 win over Lake Region.