BY JIM FLICK
Darius Patton delivered on both sides of ball Friday night, leading Poland to a hard-fought 33-30 win over Lakeview.
On offense, Patton caught 10 passes for 218 yards and scored three touchdowns. He started the scoring when he caught a 52-yard pass from quarterback Colin Reardon.
Patton also scored on the longest play of the evening, when he snagged a pass from Reardon and ran into the end zone to complete a 66-yard pass play early in the third quarter.
On defense, with the home team Bulldogs nearing the end zone in the closing moments of the game and trailing by only three points, 33-30, Patton intercepted a Lakeview pass in the end zone. Patton’s interception ended Lakeview threat with only 1:07 remaining on the game clock.
Patton “has got all the tools,” said Poland coach Mark Brungard. “Without a doubt he’s the player of the game.”
Patton made tough catches in traffic, surrounded by defenders, but sometimes slipped away and was wide open from throws from Reardon.
“He’s special,” agreed Lakeview coach Tom Pavlansky. “He does that to a lot of people.”
After Patton opened the scoring, Lakeview struck back in the second quarter. Trevor West scored on a six-yard run, then gave Lakeview an 8-7 lead when he dived into the end for a two-point conversion.
Poland regained the lead late in the second quarter when senior John Medina scored on a 6-yard run. An attempt at a two-point conversion failed, but Poland led 13-8.
Poland boosted its lead to 16-8 just before halftime when Connor McFadden kicked a 36-yard field goal.
In the second half, Poland scored soon after accepting the kickoff. After an incomplete pass, and a 14-yard gain by Medina, Patton scored on his 66-yard jaunt. After McFadden kicked an extra point, Poland led 23-8.
But Lakeview closed the gap to 23-14 when quarterback Anthony Franco scored on a 15-yard run late in the third quarter.
But Patton scored his third touchdown of the night in the final minutes of the third quarter, when he snagged a 2-yard pass from Franco. McFadden kicked the extra point to give Poland a 30-14 lead.
Lakeview scored midway through the fourth quarter when Franco tossed a 13-yard pass to Toma Leveto. Clint Hess caught a pass from Franco for a two-point conversion, cutting Poland’s lead to 30-22.
McFadden kicked a 27-yard field goal to tally Poland’s final points.
But Lakeview wasn’t done. Louie Novakovish scored on a 20-yard pass from Franco and Franco ran in the conversion to cut Poland’s lead to 33-30.
With the clock running down, Lakeview tried an onsides kick — which D.J Marhulik snagged with 1:40 remaining.
But Patton dashed Lakeview’s hopes for last-minute comeback when he intercepted a pass in the end zone.