Analysis: So far, Spartans dominate playoffs

They face the Cardinal Gibbons Chiefs in Fort Lauderdale on Friday night.


Jay Sanders

Junior Aviyon Smith-mack jumps over another player during a game against Boga Ciega High School on Aug. 26th. The Spartans beat the Pirates 27-12.


The playoff run for the Lakewood Spartans so far has been spectacular. The first game against Glades Central ended in a Spartans victory 27-12 and another win against Clewiston with a score of 21-7. Both games were against worthy opponents, but the Spartans were able to pull out the win in both.

In the Glades game, the Spartans trusted their offense in the second drive and made an all passing drive, ending in a touchdown pass to wide receiver Diezel Spann, the drive included passes to senior Terrell Crosby and senior Amari Niblack, making the game 7-0.

In the first play of the second quarter, Glades kicked off to senior Laturus Adams, and he ran it straight up the middle all the way to the end zone making the game 13-0.

The Raiders then made a push to score on a pass interference penalty in the third quarter and kicked off just as the buzzer was ringing for quarter four.

Head coach Cory Moore gave his players a pep talk before the quarter, as it seemed Glades could do some more damage.

“We have to fight right no; if we don’t fight then we’re going home,” he said.

The Spartans then used Crosby to run, and he got them all the way to the 30 yard-line for a touchdown setup. Then came a complete pass to Spann by quarterback Anthony Colandrea, making the game 21-6 after a two-point conversion run in by junior Montravius Lloyd.

Both teams’ defenses were standing out, although there was another touchdown for Glades after Adams fumbled a recovery. However, the defense came back with a big stop, and a muffed punt gave the Spartans the ball back on the 15-yard line and it was run in for a touchdown by Lloyd.

An interception then closed that game out.

“You guys did so good I’m giving you Saturday and Sunday off. Good work,” Moore said after the game.

The next week on Black Friday, the game after Thanksgiving Day, was a nail bitter. Against the Clewiston Tigers, both offenses were equally explosive in the run game, but Lakewood outmatched them in the wide receiver and quarterback categories. For Clewiston, running back Jonny Crawford III looked to be a major threat, but after a 50-yard run the first play of the game, the Spartan defense was able to stifle him and all his teammates. The Clewiston defense did the same thing, as the score was 0-0 at halftime.

However, after a few stops for each defense, Clewiston was able to drive down the field and run in a touchdown thanks to Crawford, making the game 7-0.

Lakewood then quickly responded with a drive of its own consisting of passes to Crosby getting Lakewood to the 25, a run for Lloyd getting the offense in the red zone, a pass to Crosby at the goal line, and a run in by Lloyd to make the game 7-7.

Both defenses made stops, and it seemed the game might stay this way. However, Colandrea was able to pass to Niblack, Adams and Crosby and with some runs by Lloyd, and the game was made 13-7 after a pass to Crosby in the end zone.

Lakewood then attempted an onside kick, and recovered, and Colandrea took the ball himself for a 50-yard run for a touchdown, and with a 2-point conversion, the game was 21-7, final.

The standout players on offense in this playoff have been Colandrea and Lloyd, followed by Crosby and Niblack, with help from Adams. Lloyd is coming off an injury, and he was able to come back in spectacular fashion to score almost all the Spartans touchdowns during the playoffs. All three receivers also have contributed, because there are not enough people on the field to guard them. Finally, Colandrea has been spectacular on his feet and with his arm.

On defense, defensive end Pharee Reed and middle linebacker Camari Berry have been amazing to watch. Reed has done it all, stepping up in the kicking position for Lakewood, and the Spartans have scored two extra points, the most since kicker Nate Sosa-Jones was injured against Palmetto. Reed has made amazing tackles and has really showed his talent against the run. At the beginning of the year, Lakewood struggled defending the run, but the other teams couldn’t pass on the Spartans because their cornerbacks were too fast, but the defense has come up in a big way.

This is in part because of Berry. Berry is a senior and really takes the responsibility of leading the defense. The middle linebacker needs to be smart, fast and control the field, and he does exactly that. He can read runs and passes before they happen, strip and force fumbles, intercept short and long passes, attack the running back and the quarterback, and most importantly have the defensive squad follow his lead. This is an important piece of the puzzle and although he may not make the dazzling plays every game, he is always a part of them, and probably orchestrated them.

This Friday, the Spartans play Cardinal Gibbons High School, which has a record of 9-2, and their only losses are close games against St. Thomas Aquinas, and American Heritage, both teams’ favorites to win their state division as well. This will be the toughest game for Lakewood yet. However, if they play their game, it will be close and could go either way.

The Spartans feel confident, but they have some work to do.

“We need to get back in the lab, fix the small things, and finish business,” Berry said.