SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — With his team clinging to a narrow lead midway in the fourth quarter Friday night, Lakeside coach Buzz Edwards knew his team needed to make a play.
His Dragons did exactly that, coming through with a huge interception by junior Angelo Collazo to help seal a 31-29 win over Chagrin Falls at Lakeside Stadium. Trailing 24-6 at the half, Chagrin Falls rallied back to cut the Dragons lead to 31-29 on a 36-yard touchdown run by Donny Hardy with just over 7 minutes remaining.
On the ensuing possession, Lakeside was held on downs, and the Tigers took back possession with 5:52 left.
Chagrin Falls got the ball to midfield when sophomore Jimmy Timonere tipped a pass from quarterback Nicolas Vinci and Collazo came up with the intereption with just over three and a half minutes to go.
“We made the big plays when we needed to,” Edwards said.
Lakeside made many big plays in the first half, using primarily the ground game to take command from the start. The Dragons rushed for 282 yards on 32 carries in the opening half, not even attempting a pass play until three minutes left before intermission.
Lakeside scored on all four of its first half possessions, with AJ Raffa (1 yard), J’Shon Sanders (51 yards), and Malachi Matlock (22 yards) hitting paydirt and kicker Chris Chamberlin nailing a key 26-yard field goal right before half.
The Dragons defense, which held the Tigers to just 71 yards of offense in the opening half, however began to wear down as the game progressed. Chagrin Falls countered with 234 yards of offense in the second half. Vinci connected on a pair of touchdown passes, the second a 7-yard pass to Luke Cornell from Vinci to cut the Lakeside lead to 24-21 on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Lakeside came right back on the ensuing possession, however, with senior quarterback Garrett Siebeneck connecting on a 58-yard pass down the left sideline to Malachi Matlock to set up Sanders second touchdown of the night — a 2 yard run to give the hosts a 31-21 cushion.
Lakeside (3-3 overall, 2-1 in the CVC) will play at Kirtland next Friday. Chagrin Falls (3-4 overall, 1-3 in the CVC) will host Edgewood the same night.