Lemon Bay almost made up a 20-point deficit in its season opener but fell short, 33-27, to West Palm Beach King’s Academy.

The Mantas were down, 26-6, after the Lions ran back the second half kickoff for a touchdown, and trailed by 33-14 with 7:43 to go before scoring twice in a 2:33 span to pull within 33-27 with 4:05 to play. But with Lemon Bay out of timeouts, the Lions were able to pick up a first down and run out the clock.

Lemon Bay had its chances in the second half as its defense put the clamps on the Lions offense after yielding 200 passing yards in the first half. But the Mantas came up empty on two trips deep in Lion territory, getting stopped on downs on their first possession of the third quarter, and then quarterback Austin Anderle threw a costly interception after the Mantas had a first down at the King’s Academy 25 early in the fourth quarter with the score 26-14.

But after giving up a score to the Lions, the Mantas struck back as a 63 yard run by Jacob Sekach set up a 4-yard TD run by Jason Hogan. They, after getting pinned back at their 1-yard line by a Lion punt, Anderle teamed with Aaron Pasick on a 92-yard TD pass to bring Lemon Bay within 33-27.

Key Plays: The Mantas had an inkling of what kind of night it was going to be when they recovered a King’s fumble at the 18 yard line on the Lions first play from scrimmage, only to fumble it right back on the very next play.

After taking a 6-3 lead on a 76-yard pass from Anderle to Pasick in the second quarter, the Mantas gave up a safety after being pinned deep in their own territory by another Lion punt. Following the free kick, Will Prichard threw a screen pass to Dominick Ratty who went 40 yards to regain the lead for the Lions. After a Lemon Bay three-and-out and a short punt, Prichard found Preston Martin in the end zone from 20 yards out to give King’s Academy a 19-6 lead at the half.

After Hogan’s first TD in the third quarter, Trey Rutan intercepted a Prichard pass on the next play, but an errant snap led to 9-yard loss and a Lemon Bay punt.

Key Stats: Hogan’s 56 yard TD run on fourth and one from the Lions 44 pulled Lemon Bay within 26-14 in the third quarter. Hogan finished with 148 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. Sekach had 76 yards on 7 attempts. Pasick caught three passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns, both on quick slants that went the distance. For the Lions, Prichard completed 15 of 28 passes for three scores. Ratty had 83 yards rushing on 26 carries and caught three screen passes for 86 yards, along with his 90 yard kickoff return.

What It Means: Lemon Bay (0-1) will have its home opener against Oasis next Friday night.

Quote: "We had our chances. We gave the football game away. It was ours to win, we just made too many mistakes to pull it out. There's no quitting in this team and I told them we've got to get back to work. I thought we played Englewood tough, we didn't play Englewood smart.

We threw the ball more than ever and threw it well. It was raining on both teams. They're a really good football team and they won a state championship two years ago. Their staff does an excellent job so credit to them, but we made some mistakes that gave them the victory." - Lemon Bay coach Don Southwell

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