Twenty-two yards — that’s how close the Ocoee Knights were from victory in their 21-18 loss at the hands of Lake Mary on Friday, Oct. 23.
With 1:29 left in the game and facing a fourth-and-short at the Lake Mary 22-yard line, Ocoee quarterback Dylan Wade scampered right on what appeared to be a botched option, as Wade looked to toss the ball wide but there was no one there. Wade tucked the ball and ran for a single yard — coming up short and handing the Rams the win.
The Rams (5-1) being one step ahead of the Knights (2-3) seemed to be the story all night, and it was largely thanks to big plays for the visiting side.
Less than two minutes into the game Lake Mary quarterback Gunnar Smith connected with Sterle Scott on a 67-yard bomb over the top to help give the Rams a 7-0 advantage early, but the Knights would respond with their own big play six minutes later on a 52-yard toss from Wade to Tae’quan Johnson. The Knights’ two-point conversion would fail, however, and the Rams would hold a 7-6 lead.
The Rams would strike quickly again on another big toss — this time a 65-yard pass from Smith to Ron Kimble — 15 seconds later to push the lead to 14-6.
But just as Ocoee had done before, the Knights would respond — this time on defense — with an Eric Gilreath pick-six with 1:11 left in the first quarter. The score would be the last of the half, as the Knights went into the break down 14-12.
While the Knights defense stepped up its game in the second half and shut down the Rams offensively for the most part, an 18-yard touchdown run by Marquis Jones — the only score of the second half for Lake Mary — midway through the third quarter would eventually prove to be a backbreaker for the Knights.
Ocoee would see Wade connect with Johnson on another touchdown — on a 17-yard pass — with 11:06 left in the game, but that would be the last score of the game for the Knights.
The Knights will now look to bounce back against rival West Orange in the annual Battle for the Shield game — which the Knights won 22-20 last year — on Thursday, Oct. 29.