Lakeshore’s Nathan Facaine made plenty of plays early Thursday night against Riverdale, scoring in the first half on a punt return and an interception while on offense, setting up teammates for easy scores.
Donte Jackson of Riverdale, though, owned the middle stretch, where he helped the Rebels rally from a 28-point deficit by scoring the District 8-4A game’s next four touchdowns, all plays longer than 20 yards.
By the time the clock expired at Joe Yenni Stadium, Lakeshore’s defense had mustered one last effort to stop Jackson late, and its offense found a way to earn a 45-42 victory.
Jackson was stopped on a fourth down with 6:28 left, leading to a 12-play, 66-yard Lakeshore drive capped by Ryan Miller’s 27-yard field goal with 37 seconds left.
“I’m used to kicking field goals like that,” said Miller, who last season his two game winners. “It wasn’t any pressure. I just did what I had to do.”
The victory allowed Lakeshore (3-4, 1-1) to end its losing streak at two games. It also gives the Titans not just hope, but confidence heading into the rest of their district schedule. Meanwhile, Riverdale dropped to 3-4, 0-2, losers of its past three games.
“I said before the season they were a pretty, darned good team,” Riverdale coach Brett Bonnaffons said of Lakeshore. “(But) that’s the best comeback I’ve ever seen.”
The rally was nearly complete.
After trailing 42-14 late in the second quarter, Jackson scored on a 52-yard catch, a 23-yard run, a 46-yard reception and with 2:51 left in the third quarter, he added a 31-yard run, tying the score.
On the play, Jackson lined up in the shotgun, taking the direct snap and finding a running lane to the left.
Lakeshore, after dominating the first two quarters, had no offensive answer. Until late.
With less than seven minutes left, Riverdale reached the Lakeshore 23 before dealing with a fourth-and-9, where Jackson took a direct snap, moved to his left, then right before being tackled for a loss by Jason Wahlen.
“I knew he was going to cut it back,” Whalen said. “He stopped on the other side. I just stayed home and made the tackle.”
Facine had five catches for 68 yards, while Jackson finished with four catches for 125 yards and had eight carries for 66 yards.
“It wasn’t anything we didn’t expect,” Lakeshore coach Craig Jones said of Jackson’s antics. “But I’m proud of our kids for withstanding that third-quarter onslaught and then finding a way to get a stop and driving down to get a field goal.”
For Riverdale, Darius Bovie rushed for a game-high 160 yards. His Lakeshore counterpart, David Ducre III, had 119 yards and four scores.