Ashtabula Star Beacon
It’s no secret Howland running back De’Veon Smith is going to be the man the football team banks its season on.
Smith carried the Tigers to Thursday’s 43-16 victory over Ashtabula Lakeside at Lakeside Stadium in the opener that was close in the first half.
“De’Veon is the main man,” Howland coach Dick Angle said. “We got that toss [sweep] going on them.
“De’Veon is a big guy, you have to hold him down,” Angle said. “If you hold him down, we have to be able to do some other things.”
Smith, a Michigan recruit, carried 17 times for 328 yards and three scores.
“He’s just a great tailback,” Lakeside coach Ryan David said. “We worked all week on tackling. He was just more powerful than we were.”
Smith got the ball rolling for the Tigers on their first offensive play with a 50-yard run. Five plays later, he scored from the 5 for a 7-0 Howland lead.
After the Dragons went three-and-out, Smith tallied again, this time from 44 yards out, to give the Tigers a 13-0 lead with 4:02 remaining in the first period. The point-after kick failed.
The Dragons got on the board on a 1-yard run by Chad McAfee. Devyn Blackmore scored on the two-point conversion and the Dragons were down 13-8 with more than eight minutes to play in the first half.
“Lakeside showed great improvement,” said Angle, referring to last year’s 33-0 victory. “That’s the best Lakeside team we’ve played since we started playing them eight years ago.”
Smith ran for 53 yards then 8 more before quarterback Eric Lockney used a quarterback sneak to score from the 1, putting Howland up, 20-8.
The Dragons drove 53 yards in less than a minute with quarterback Tyler Loftus hitting Chuck Morgan with a 13-yard touchdown pass as time expired at the intermission. Loftus ran in the two-point conversion and the Dragons were down just four, 20-16, at the break.
“That was a great football game,” Angle said. “They played hard and never quit. They got some unbelievable breaks. They were able to take advantage of those breaks and that’s the mark of a good team.”
The momentum carried into the third quarter for the Dragons, but they were unable to capitalize.
In the second half, Austin Osborne raced 17 yards for a Howland score. Brendan Cope scored on the two-point conversion run. About three minutes later, Smith scored from 35 yards out.