Hagerty High School All-America quarterback Jeff Driskel put on a performance for the ages against powerful Lakeland High School Friday night.
Unfortunately for the Huskies, a familiar face was doing likewise on the other side of the field as the host Dreadnaughts finally pulled away late to win, 56-35, in Class 5A-Region 1 quarterfinal action before 5,200 fans at Bryant Stadium.
Driskel showed why University of Florida fans can’t wait for him to get to Gainesville as the 6-foot-4, 230-pound signal caller accumulated 494-yards of total offense and had a hand in all five touchdowns scored by his team, running for two touchdowns, throwing for two more and, for good measure, catching a touchdown pass for the second straight game.
But undefeated Lakeland (11-0) had a pretty good weapon too, as Steward Butler, who starred last season at Oviedo High School, ran for a phenomenal 367-yards to break the school-record of 346-yards posted by current Gators standout Chris Rainey.
Butler, who had transferred from Lakeland to Oviedo for his junior year but suddenly disappeared during the playoffs last fall, will get a shot at his former team as the Lions, who blanked Osceola, 10-0, in another 5A-Region 1 quarter, will travel to Bryant Stadium for a regional semifinal this Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Hagerty, which was making its first regional appearance in school history, ends its season at 7-4.
The Dreadnaughts took the lead on the opening series when Butler broke off a 55-yard run on the second play of the game to set up his own seven-yard touchdown run moments later. However, the score remained 6-0 as the Huskies blocked the extra point attempt.
That allowed the guests to take the lead as Driskel capped a three-minute drive with a 24-yard touchdown run and Lucas Wainman kicked the extra point to give the Huskies a 7-6 lead with 6:05 left in the first quarter.
But the lead disappeared quickly as less than two-minutes later (4:17) Butler, who would finish the half with 150-yards on eight carries, got loose down the sideline and went 50-yards for his second touchdown run and quarterback Tim Evans tossed the 2-point conversion pass to Javares McRoy to give the hosts a 14-7 lead which they would take into the halftime break.
After neither team could score for nearly 21-1/2 minutes, things got crazy over the final half of the third quarter.
The Huskies tied the game when Driskel found Treyous Jarrells for a 34-yard touchdown pass and Wainman added the kick with 6:53 left in the period.
But exactly one-minute later, McCroy put Lakeland back ahead to stay when he ran for a 47-yard touchdown and Caleb Hough added the extra point.
The guests then made one of their few mistakes of the night when Driskel was intercepted and a minute-and-a-half later (4:22) the Dreadnaughts took a 28-14 lead when Evans found Theodore Wright for a 10-yard score and Hough added the kick.
But Hagerty answered right back with a 15-yard Driskel to Zach Harwood pass and another Wainman kick to make the score 28-21 with 3:06 remaining in the quarter.
Lakeland, which ran for 552-yards, then went back to the ground, getting a one-yard touchdown run for Delvon Hagan and a Hough kick to make the score 35-21 with 9:38 to play and when the Huskies fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Hagan scored again on a 20-yard run and Hough added the extra point to make the score 42-21 with 9:23 left to play.
Hagerty still refused to go away quietly as Driskel threw a lateral to Ethan Albers who then threw back across the field to Driskel, who had gotten behind the Dreadnaught defense and he cruised into the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown catch to cut the lead back to 14, 42-28, with 7:51 to play.
Butler then scored his third touchdown of the game on a three-yard run with 5:56 to play.
But Driskel did the Lakeland star back one better, as on the second play after the kickoff the senior went back looking to pass, but when he found no one open, he took off to his left and outran the entire Lakeland defense for a 91-yard touchdown gallop with 5:19 left on the clock.
That was the last hurrah for the locals, however, as Hagan (83-yards on 10 carries) scored his third touchdown of the game on a 21-yard run to cap the scoring with 3:16 remaining.
Driskel finished the game 15-of-29 passing for 182 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. He also ran for 270-yards and two more touchdowns on 20 attempts and also caught the 42-yard touchdown pass.