09/11/05 — Gators have Wright moves

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Gators have Wright moves

By David Miller
Published in Sports on September 11, 2005 2:10 AM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- B-I-G is the only way to describe Spring Creek's first-ever, 27-14 non-conference victory over Roseboro Lakewood on Friday evening.

The Gators upended the Leopards for the first time in five regular-season meetings and evened their 2005 worksheet at 2-2.

Lakewood exited 0-3.

"I think the News-Argus jinxed us with their article about our streak," quipped Lakewood coach James Lewis. "Give Spring Creek credit. They were ready for us and came to play. We knew that when things got tight their quarterback (Josh Wright) would be handling the ball. He made some huge plays."

Wright rushed for 93 yards and scored two touchdowns, and added 53 yards passing. The 146-yard output accounted for more than half of Spring Creek's 251 yards of total offense.

The Gator defense held Lakewood to a series-low 14 points. The previous low occurred in the first meeting in 2001, won by the Leopards in overtime in Seven Springs.

"Our defense stepped up big when it counted," said fifth-year Spring Creek coach Roy Whitfield. "We would bend, but we didn't break as we have in the past."

Defense set up the Gators' first score. Tackle Steven Price recorded his first of two sacks of Lakewood quarterback Joshua Owens, which set up a punt.

"Price was on offense last year," said Whitfield. "I think he's made a great transition."

Ronnie Butler hauled in the ball at his own 25 and was off to the races down the sideline. Sophomore place-kicker Alex Dunmire successfully booted the first of three PATs in four attempts for a 7-0 lead.

Spring Creek did not record a first down until the 4-minute, 48-second mark of the period. Wright, a junior, called his own number on a crucial fourth-and-2 play from the Lakewood 47. The sneak play turned into a 53-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 advantage.

Owens pulled Lakewood within 14-7 at halftime on a 42-yard touchdown pass to Norris Anderson.

The Gators' defense gang-tackled Lakewood in the third quarter. That was the only way to stop the 5-foot-10, 282-pound Jones. Time and again, Michael Russell (5-7, 160) sacrificed his body to slow down Jones.

"Pound for pound, the toughest man on our team," Whitfield said of Russell. "He's the heart and soul of our defense."

Lelo Burt accounted for Spring Creek's third touchdown. First, he grabbed his team's only pass reception of the night, good for 53 yards. Three play later, he capped the drive waltzing into the end zone on a left sweep at 5:54.

Wright needed little more than 30 seconds to neutralize Jones' early fourth-quarter score. Again on a keeper, he raced 60 yards for the game's final points at 11:21.

Any attempts for a comeback were negated by the Gator defense. The Leopards were unable to contain Desmond Raeford all night. Butler ended the last Lakewood drive with an interception with 3:10 remaining to play.

Spring Creek takes a week off before entertaining Holly Ridge Dixon on Sept. 23.

"We've played four very good teams," said Whitfield. "This open date will give us the opportunity to work on the little things that we should be doing, but aren't. We have other options, such as plays, that we need to be utilizing."