With its sixth straight win last weekend, the Lake Forest High School football team has put itself in a position where if it wins this weekend it will be crowned the Henlopen Conference Southern Division champion.
For the Lake Forest High School football program, it’s been quite a while since there’s been something major to celebrate.
The Spartans last won the state championship in 1995 and their last Henlopen Conference Southern Division Championship was even longer ago than that in 1991.
However, Head Coach Freddie Johnson’s players have the chance to puff their chests out a bit this weekend, when after defeating Indian River High School (3-4, 2-2), 27-14, Oct. 22, Lake (6-1, 4-1) is one win away from becoming South champions.
Woodbridge High School (3-4, 1-2) is the only team that stands in the Spartans’ way at this point, and the two squads will square off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, at Woodbridge.
Johnson said that while his team’s approach is a day-to-day one that he tries to keep free of distractions, he understands the importance of this game for the program.
“I think that would mean a lot to our program, school and community,” he said. “Our program has been through a lot over the past several years. My first year we didn’t finish the season and my second year we did finish the season, but with 19 players because of a new eligibility policy.”
Now in his fifth year as head coach, Johnson said the program has come a long way and this year’s seniors have been there for most of the ride, learning some valuable lessons along the way.
“They’ve been through the rough times,” he said. “They learned through hard work and perseverance that things will get better.”
Johnson stressed, however, that he did not want to get ahead of himself in thinking about the South title.
Woodbridge is an improved team this year, he said, and he expects his team to have to deal with a smash-mouth opponent that thrives on controlling the clock.
That said, Johnson noted that with the way his team has been playing — winning six straight games since an opening game loss — not much has to change.
“We just have to take care of the little things, the things we can control,” he said. “We have to eliminate mistakes, be intense and protect the ball.”
So it will be business as usual for the Spartans, which includes feeding the ball to senior running back Quadir Bryant.
Bryant’s workload was increased last week after senior quarterback Josh Webb left the game with a high ankle sprain, and the running back rose to the task, carrying the ball 37 times for 381 yards and four touchdowns.
With Webb lost for at least one more week, Johnson said Bryant is going to be relied on heavily once again, something he said his star back doesn’t mind at all.
“He was just demanding the ball, demanding to be on the field,” Johnson said of Bryant’s performance against IR. “He was determined to do whatever it is he could do to make sure we were in a position to win that game. And the line played great in front of him. They were feeding off his energy.”
WHO Lake Forest High School (6-1, 4-1) at Woodbridge High School (3-4, 1-2)
WHEN 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29
WHERE Fillmore Clifton Stadium, 307 Laws St., Bridgeville
Email Brian Citino at email@example.com