By Anthony Rhoads
Kisan Flakes completed 14 of 22 passes for 286 yards and four touchdowns as the No. 6-ranked Lovejoy Wildcats beat Starr's Mill 47-28 Friday night at Twelve Oaks Stadium.
"I think I did good," Flakes said. "I was glad to have the opportunity. I always try to do my best individually and for us to play as a team and win. Tonight, we had both so I'm real happy."
In addition to enjoying a stellar night throwing the ball, the senior quarterback added 35 yards rushing and ran for a score.
"I can't say enough about Kisan," Lovejoy head coach Al Hughes said. "He's the best quarterback in the state. If there's a better quarterback out there, I would love to see him. It's a team game but he's a big part of what we do."
Flakes connected with Vernard Hoover for three scores, including a 57-yard TD strike in the first quarter. They hooked up a again in the fourth quarter for a 46-yard pass to give Lovejoy a 34-28 advantage with about eight minutes to play. At the 4:33 mark of the fourth, Flakes tossed a 41-touchdown pass to Hoover.
Hoover wound up with six catches for 178 yards to lead all receivers.
Dennis Thomas also had a solid night for Lovejoy with five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Lovejoy's Mark Pettaway led all rushers with 178 yards on 10 carries. He scored one touchdown, a 91-yard run in the first quarter.
"I knew it was going to be a dogfight," he said. "I knew we had to come out and play tonight."
Lovejoy and Starr's Mill had an old-fashioned shootout in the first half, going into halftime tied at 28-all. Lovejoy led 21-7 after the first quarter but Starr's Mill came back thanks to a strong rushing attack that racked up 273 first-half yards. Lovejoy and Starr's Mill combined for more than 600 total offensive yards in the first half.
"Starr's Mill is a great football team but our defense stood up in the second half," Hoover said. "The
difference was the defense in the second half."
Lovejoy shut out Starr's Mill in the second half and allowed just 72 second-half yards.
"I am so proud of my defensive staff," Hughes said. "I can't say enough about my defensive coaches. They made some corrections at halftime and the kids stepped up in the second half. It was a great effort."
Early in the fourth quarter, Lovejoy was in position to take the lead as the team was on the Starr's Mill 2 but Aaron Williams fumbled into the end zone and Starr's Mill recovered. On Starr's Mill next play at the 20-yard line, fullback Kyle McCreary fumbled and Lovejoy recovered.
Four plays later, Flakes threw a touchdown pass to Hoover to give Lovejoy the lead for good.
On the fourth play of Starr's Mill's next drive, Williams intercepted a Robbie Williams pass.
Robbie Williams completed 4-of-14 passes for 13 yards.
Leading Starr's Mill in rushing were Smith with 101 yards, McCreary with 96 yards and Nick Chapman with 77 yards.
Last year, Lovejoy lost a 35-34 heartbreaker at Starr's Mill. Lovejoy led 34-14 in the fourth quarter of that game.
"I feel real good," Lovejoy offensive lineman Anthony Parker said after Friday's victory. "The whole fourth quarter, that's when we felt like we had to step it up the most because we knew what happened last year. Starr's Mill played great but I we wanted it more tonight."
In 2001, Lovejoy squeaked by Starr's Mill 19-18 at Tara Stadium.
"(Starr's Mill) coach (Mike) Earwood and his staff do a tremendous job," Hughes said. "It's always tough to play those guys."
Scoring by quarters
S - 7 21 0 0 28
L - 21 7 0 19 47
L - Flakes to Hoover 57 pass 9:40 (Ferreira kick)
S Smith 28 run 5:31 (Warren kick)
L - Flakes 17 run 3:10 (kick failed)
L Pettaway 91 run :55 (Flakes run)
S Smith 28 run 10:42 (Warren kick)
L Flakes to Thomas pass 4:26 (Ferreira kick)
S Chapman 49 run 4:06 (Warren kick)
S McCreary 42 run 1:16 (Warren kick)
L Flakes to Hoover 46 pass 7:49 (kick failed)
L Flakes to Hoover 41 pass 4:33 (run failed)
L Williams 5 run :35 (Ferreira kick)