JAMES CHRISTIAN (10) of Lakeside and Anthony Steplight of Garfield Heights get tangled up on Friday night at Lakeside Stadium.

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — It was a case of too little, too late for the Lakeside Dragons as Garfield Heights Bulldogs slayed the Dragons, 40-34, on its home turf Friday.

If Lakeside could have the first 20 minutes of the game back, it would be celebrating a win, but by the time Lakeside had the Bulldogs defense figured out, it was down, 20-0.

Dragon coach Van McWreath is very happy with his offense, but it’s his defense that needs help.

“We knew from game films that Garfield Heights could pass the ball,” McWreath said. “They spread their offense well and with the two-minute, no-huddle offense that they use, it made it hard for us.”

Bulldog quarterback Ross Golub was in tune with his receivers all night and with Anthony Steplight in particular. Steplight caught nine passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns for the Bulldogs. He also was on the receiving end of a two-point conversion. It was basically pitch and catch all night between Golub and Steplight.

On its first possession of the game, the Bulldogs drove 82 yards in nine plays with Freddie Swift capping it off with a 37-yard touchdown run. Swift scored again from 29 yards out in the first half and rushed for 105 yards in only six carries.

Jordan Sandidge plowed in from the one to get the Dragons on the scoreboard with 2:16 left before halftime, but Garfield countered with a 15-yard Golub-to-Steplight pass with 45 seconds left.

Lakeside took the ensuing kickoff and, with the help of a couple large Bulldog penalties, an 11-yard run by Sandidge and a 20-yard run by Kevin McCaleb, it put the ball on the Garfield 29. On the next play, Dragon quarterback James Christian threw the ball into double coverage in the end zone and Tyrone Barnes outjumped the defenders for an all-impor-

tant confidence builder before halftime.

Bulldog coach Chuch Reisland had to be worried, although his team was winning the battle of the statistics.

“Yeah, that play before half seemed to give them hope,” Reisland said. “But we knew if we just played the game we are capable of it, would be all right in the end.

“I give Lakeside a lot of credit. I know they don’t see a lot passing up here in this area, but we are used to it where we come from. We try to spread the offense as much as we can and try to get the other to make mistakes with our matchups.”

Coming out in the second half, Lakeside had a renewed vigor about it and on the Bulldogs’ second possession, Derrell McCaleb picked off his second interception (third overall) of the night and raced 68 yards for a Lakeside touchdown.

The next kickoff left Garfield at its own 36 and two rushes into the Dragon line only garnered one yard. Then Golub hooked up with Ahmad Hagler on a 57-yard pass to take it to the Dragon6. Two plays later, Alfred Perry cashed in from three yards out.

Lakeside’s last possession was quite lengthy as it went 56 yards in 12 plays. James Christian rounded out the scoring for the Dragons on a one-yard quarterback sneak.

McClimans is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

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