By Anthony Rhoads
Kisan Flakes completed 9 of 16 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns as the Lovejoy Wildcats defeated Forest Park 42-18 Friday night at Twelve Oaks Stadium. Flakes also added two rushing touchdowns to help lead the Wildcats to the season-opening victory.
"I just want to come out every time and do my best," Flakes said. "They look to me to be a leader and I try to be a leader on the field."
Lovejoy wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as Flakes scored on a 6-yard run with 10:22 remaining in the first quarter. Forest Park immediately answered on the kickoff as Anthony Harvey returned the kick 95 yards for a touchdown.
Harvey also came up big for the Panthers on defense in the third quarter when he intercepted a Flakes pass and returned it 40 yards for the touchdown.
"Forest Park played great," Lovejoy head coach Al Hughes said. "Their coaches did a great job and they should be proud of their effort. They played hard and they played well. It was not pretty for us but an ugly victory is better than a good-looking defeat."
Forest Park led briefly in the second quarter when quarterback Josh Froneberger scored on a 1-yard run with 9:41 remaining. Froneberger's score was set up by a 56-yard toss to Yahaziel Simon-Page, which put Forest Park at the 1-yard line.
The lead was short-lived as Lovejoy's Aaron Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown, which gave the Wildcats a 14-12 advantage.
Williams also scored on a 4-yard run with 4:46 remaining in the first half.
"We had them on the ropes and let them go," Forest Park head coach Howard Stearns said. "We made some mistakes and you can't make mistakes against a team like Lovejoy. We're happy with the effort but we have some work to do. We've got a good group and a good nucleus of players."
Dennis Thomas caught two TD passes for Lovejoy, an 8-yard catch and a 40-yard strike both in the third quarter. He caught four passes for 87 yards on the night.
Vernard Hoover caught three passes for 127 yards, including catches of 43 and 75 yards.
"We have great wide receivers and a great quarterback," Hughes said.
Ronald Baker led the Panther offensively with 65 yards on 11 carries. He had a 62-yard touchdown run in the second quarter but it was negated by a penalty.
Freaky Friday: At about 8:40 and as the second quarter was winding down, the electricity went out at Twelve Oaks. The game was delayed for about 30 minutes.
Right before halftime, the game was delayed for several minutes again when the yardage chain broke.
"It was one of those nights where if things could go wrong, they would go wrong from dropped passes to the power going out," Hughes said.