It was a rainy night before and in the early minutes of Lake Wales-Immokalee game as Lake Wales was ahead 17-14 at the opening of the fourth quarter that was delayed for 30 minutes after an Indians players broke his arm in the third quarter. Due to the injury, the final score was not available at press time.
The field was saturated with water and it was plainly visible coming from the players’ feet as they sloshed around on the soggy field. It set the stage for a real ground game and lots of fumbles by both teams.
The combination of a bad snap and a slippery football by Lake Wales as they went to punt it away led to a safety as Lake Wales punter Jonathan Smith batted the ball back into the end zone. This put the Immokalee Indians on the board to score first on the evening with two points.
Soon after, Immokalee would fumble giving Lake Wales a big recovery at the 35-yard line.
The Highlanders would keep it on the ground for a first and 10 inside the 15-yard line. A couple of plays later, running back Tony Reeves ran for the score to give the Highlanders their first touchdown for the evening. The kick was good and the Highlanders led 7-2.
In the middle of the first quarter the rain subsided but the water on the field remained a factor in the game.
Immokalee gained some yardage by nice running to get inside of Highlanders territory. However, they fumbled the football and Lake Wales recovered at the 45-yard line. A couple of of plays later, Lake Wales fumbled themselves to return the ball back to the Indians.
The Indians capitalized on the opportunity with a run by their quarterback for 20 yards to get the Indians inside the 30-yard line.
They kept it on the ground and converted a third down and one to go to the Highlanders 15-yard line.
Another run by the Indians got the ball to the one-yard line to be quickly followed by another run for the Indians first touchdown on the night.
The extra-point is not good and made the score 8-7.
At the end of the first quarter, the Highlanders showed the difficulty with the conditions and a slippery football by fumbling again. The Indians got the ball back within scoring range at the 30-yard line. With some nice running from the Indians, they continued to pound away at the Lake Wales defense.
However, the conditions proved to be difficult for both teams and the Indians fumble again, this time at the 10-yard line. This raised the total fumbles in the game by both teams to six. And, it would soon be raised to seven as the Highlanders also would fumble on their possession. This gave it back to the Indians as they recovered inside of the 20-yard line.
A complete pass from Johnson to Marcellis gave the Indians’ offense good field position with a first and goal. A play later and the Indians scored with a great run up the middle to increase their lead by six. A failed two-point conversion made the score 14-7 Immokalee.
The fumbling continues ... Lake Wales fumbled and recovered to punt it away deep near the end zone.
The Indian’s would then fumble on their possession to give the ball back to Lake Wales at the 5-yard line. Lake Wales kept it on the ground but they fumbled again inside the 5-yard line and missed out on a great opportunity to score.
This brought the fumble count on the evening to 10. Immokalee deep in Highlander territory kept it on the ground a few plays before taking a knee to end the half with the Indians leading 14-7.
The second half began with a fumble, this time by the Indians. Lake Wales recovered with great field position inside the 20-yard line.
Ernest Hamilton ran in for the score for Lake Wales and with the PAT good it tied the game at 14-14.
Immokalee fumbled again on their next possession and Lake Wales recovered near the 30-yard line.
This brought some excitement to the Highlanders players and fans as they were in great position to take the lead in the game. Tate Mathewson kicked a 42-yard field goal to bring Lake Wales the lead, 17-14.
An injured Indians offensive lineman brought a somber tone to the third quarter with a lengthy injury time-out and an ambulance driving out on the turf, Kirby Henry was placed on a stretcher and carried off the field. He was sent to the hospital with a broken arm.
With still seven minutes to go in the third quarter, the play resumed after about 30 minutes for the injury time-out. The Indians were on the move and maintained a lengthy possession to advance deep into Highlanders territory to first and goal at the 5-yard line. An impressive Highlanders defense stopped the run to force a 22-yard field goal attempt which would go wide-right. Lake Wales successfully defended to maintain the lead and keep the score 17-14 to end the third quarter.
The 4th quarter opened with some great running from Highlanders Justin Henderson as he gained two first downs with runs of 10 yards or more. Time-out was called by the Highlanders.
As of press-time the score remains 17-14 Highlander’s.