The Lakeview Spartans had troubles in their kicking game on Friday and lost a tight contest to St. Joseph, 14-12.
Lakeview had an extra point blocked in the first quarter and couldn’t convert on a field goal from the 11-yard line just before halftime that would have put the Spartans up 9-0.
Trailing 14-12 late in the fourth quarter, Lakeview was in range for the go-ahead field goal at the 25-yard line. But an illegal chop-block penalty moved the Spartans back 15 yards and they turned the ball over on downs four plays later, sending Lakeview to an 0-2 start to their 2012 campaign.
The Spartans opened up the scoring at the end of the first quarter when senior running back Steven Cordova busted loose for a 44-yard run, setting up quarterback Riley Davis for a 3-yard touchdown plunge.
The extra point was blocked and Lakeview led 6-0 after one quarter.
With 4:18 left in the second quarter the Spartans received a gift when an errant long-snap sailed over St. Joseph’s punter’s head, setting up Lakeview deep in enemy territory, on the 11-yard line.
The Spartans couldn’t get any points out of it, though, as they were stuffed on third down and fumbled the snap on their attempted field goal.
“We obviously have to correct some problems with our field goal team,” Lakeview head coach Matt Miller said.
“We missed the extra point early and a field goal would have put us up two scores going into half, and that made the difference in the game.
“Obviously it would have been nice to get that field goal, but we’re not going to blame it on that. We just made too many mistakes at inopportune times and need to execute better.”
Despite gaining only 39 first-half yards, the Spartans took a 6-0 lead into the half as their defense forced three turnovers and held the Bears to only 79 total yards.
“In the first half the defense played great and the offense played well, but we made some mistakes and left some points on the field with some great field position opportunities,” Miller added. “I thought our kids played great; it was a tremendous improvement from week one to week two for us, even though we lost to a good ball club.”
Both offenses seemed to make halftime adjustments and the two teams exploded for 20 third-quarter points.
St. Joseph took the lead at the 6:20 mark in the third quarter when they marched 51 yards and quarterback James Morris hit Jalen Holmes for a 10-yard touchdown pass.
The Spartans responded on their next possession when Mike Campbell took a handoff up the middle, bounced it outside and scampered into the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown run.
Lakeview failed on its 2-point conversion and the Spartans had a 12-7 lead going into the fourth quarter.
St. Joseph answered right back, though, when Jack Turak took a handoff 53 yards for a score.
And after the ensuing extra point, Lakeview was back in the hole, 14-12.
Both teams battled for field position throughout the fourth quarter.
At the 2:40 mark Lakeview caught a spark when Davis connected with tight end Jake Love for a 21-yard reception, moving the Spartans inside the St. Joseph 25-yard line.
But an illegal chop-block penalty on first and 10 moved the Spartans back 15 yards to the 40. Two incomplete passes and an option for no gain set Lakeview up with a lengthy fourth-and-25 that it was unable to convert when a last-ditch-effort halfback pass was knocked down.
Lakeview drops to 0-2 with the loss and will host Marshall next Friday night.
The Redhawks lost 48-26 to St. Joseph last week and defeated Benton Harbor 14-6 on Thursday night.
“Marshall’s got some good players, but hopefully we improve next week as much as we did this week and it’ll be a good ballgame,” Miller said.