LAKE WALES — The Clewiston Tigers found themselves outmatched against the high-powered Lake Wales Highlanders on Sept. 20.
Lake Wales came into the game on the heels of two nearly record-breaking performances on offense in the weeks prior. The Highlanders won 77-0 against Haines City on Sept. 6 and 72-0 against Mulberry on Sept. 13.
Perhaps it can be seen as a small victory that the Highlanders had their lowest scoring game of the year against the Tigers defense. Still, Clewiston fell to Lake Wales 51-7.
The loss against the unbeaten Highlanders drops the Tigers to 2-1 on the season.
Clewiston senior Darquan Balkcom got the start at quarterback for the Tigers. Balkcom split time under center with junior Oran Singleton throughout the game.
The Highlanders wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, scoring on their opening drive. Lake Wales senior Johnny Richardson running back tore through the Clewiston defense en route to a 51-yard touchdown in the first quarter. A few Clewiston defenders were in position to stop Richardson, but the Highlander running back broke a few tackles and was able to get loose for the score.
The explosive offense for the Highlanders put up 22 points on Clewiston in the first quarter alone.
The Tigers were going to have their hands full with Lake Wales no matter what. But a slew of penalties by Clewiston too often put the Tiger offense behind the sticks, making things that much easier for the Highlanders. Clewiston was coming into the Lake Wales game off their bye week and the amount of false start penalties and delays of game might point to the Tigers needing to shake off a bit of rust.
Singleton, freshman Chauncy Cobb and junior Ahmad Gary showed flashes for the Tigers on offense.
Clewiston junior Elijah Bryant ran for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to deny Lake Wales the shutout.
In facing Lake Wales, the young Clewiston Tigers team got an up-close view of where they hope to be eventually, a football program that dominates all three phases of the game and keeps their foot on the gas even when they have a lead.
Coming up next, the Tigers will host the Port St. Lucie Jaguars at Cane Field.
Port St. Lucie comes into the game with a 1-3 record with back-to-back losses in the last two weeks against Westwood and Royal Palm Beach.
The Tiger and Jaguars kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 27 in Clewiston.