ENGLEWOOD — Kelsey Demps rushed for 168 yards, including an electrifying 90-yard touchdown run, and threw for 69 more, but Cypress Lake fell to Lemon Bay, 20-19, on the Manta Rays Homecoming night.
The Panthers fumbled the opening kickoff and Lemon Bay took advantage with a 1-yard touchdown run by Brayden Curry to grab a quick 6-0 lead. Isaiah Thomas got Cypress Lake even with a 12-yard run three minutes later, then Thomas’ interception stopped a Manta Rays drive deep in Panthers territory. Demps followed with his 90-yard dash to make it 13-6 with 2:43 to go in the first quarter.
A 40-yard quarterback keeper by Victor Mellor with 42 seconds to go in the quarter tied it at 13-13, and that’s how it stayed until halftime.
Lemon Bay (1-5) took the second half kickoff and went 59 yards in seven plays with Logan Lydic scoring on a 1-yard sweep to give the Mantas a 20-13 lead.
The Panthers went 80 yards in 11 plays in the fourth quarter following a pick by Chris Joseph. Thomas scored on an 11-yard run with 5:55 left in the contest, but Demps was tackled in the backfield on a two-point conversion attempt.
Cypress Lake (3-4) got the ball back on its own 32-yard line with 2:01 to play and picked up one first down. But facing a 4th-and-15 with 30 seconds to go, Demps scrambled but came up a yard short of another first down to send the Panthers to their third straight defeat.
“They played their guts out tonight,” said Cypress Lake coach Richie Rode. “”We still made some mistakes, but they played hard and fought to the end and that’s all I’m asking them to do. It’s gonna hurt a little bit, but we’ll grow from it. Hopefully we can use some of the good things we did for momentum forward.”
Curry gained 156 yards on 31 carries for Lemon Bay, while Lydic picked up 100 yards on 13 attempts, and Mellor ran 10 times for 91 yards. Thomas finished with 83 yards on 10 carries and caught 5 passes for 38 yards for the Panthers.
CL 13 | 0 | 0 | 6 — 19
LB 13 | 0 | 7 | 0 — 20
LB – Brayden Curry 1 run (run failed)
CL – Isaiah Thomas 12 run (kick failed)
CL – Kelsey Demps 90 run (Jestin Jones kick)
LB – Victor Mellor 40 run (Summer Rusher kick)
LB – Logan Lydic 1 run (Rusher kick)
CL – Thomas 11 run (run failed)