From the kickoff, it was a mismatch. It was a game that was never really a game.
The Lake Wales Highlanders won their second game in a row Friday night by overwhelming Tenoroc 76-0 in a Class 5A, District 10 football game at Legion Field.
LWHS was in control from the time the Titans stepped off their bus. The game was such a rout that when the Highlanders took a 48-0 lead with 3:13 left in the first quarter, the referees took the unusual step of starting a continuous clock. Normally, a continuous clock isn’t used until the second half.
The win makes Lake Wales 5-4 overall and the champions of the district at 4-0. Tenoroc is 0-9. The Highlanders play at Bartow next Friday to end the regular season with a non-district game and then play Spoto of Riverview in the first round of the state playoffs in two weeks at Legion Field.
LWHS made a mockery of this game by scoring six touchdowns on its first seven plays of the game. In the process, the Highlanders blocked a punt, recovered a fumble and later scored on a 50-yard punt return.
Knowing this would be a lopsided affair, Lake Wales coach Rod Shafer dressed out most of his JV team with 15 sophomores and 11 freshmen. And they took over before halftime.
But it didn’t help. With no varsity starters on the field, the Highlanders scored on two plays to start the second half. They scored 21 points in the second with basically the JV team.
Just 30 seconds into the game, Earnest Hamilton scored on a 17-yard run after Tenoroc had fumbled the ball. Just a minute and 5 seconds later, Justin Henderson scored on a 27-yard run after a bad Titan punt. Quarterback Railond Garrett threw an 11-yard TD pass to Marcus Walker less than two minutes into the game, Lake Wales had a 21-0 lead.
And it just got worse. After another bad Tenoroc punt, Henderson went 33 yards for his second touchdown of the game. The Titans fumbled the ensuing kickoff and on the second play, Garrett threw 14 yards to Davi’on Riley as the Highlanders went ahead 41-0. Later in the first quarter, Darion Staten returned a punt 50 yards for a 48-0 score. And before the opening quarter could end, Henderson scored his third touchdown of the game on an 18-yard run.
One real highlight of the game for Lake Wales was Henderson passing 1,000 yards rushing for the season. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound junior had just four carries but gained 84 yards on a night when he spent much more time watching from the sideline instead of playing.
With a normal clock, the first quarter took 55 minutes with 55 points. With a continuous running clock, the last three quarters took only 45 minutes and 21 points. The Titans slowed the clock down late in the game when they actually mounted a drive and got to the 35, but Tenoroc fumbled the ball away.