The rain from a chilly autumn sky mixed with tears of joy on Marvin Wooten's face as the South Lakes Seahawks earned their first win of the 2011 football season over Marshall Friday night, 22-16.
Khayri Denny's two touchdown receptions late in the second quarter gave South Lakes a halftime lead the Seahawks defense managed to preserve with numerous second half stops, including forcing a game-clinching fumble with under a minute left.
The game started omniously as Marshall took the opening kickoff and scored on its first offensive play from scrimmage; when Tayvon Timmons broke free for his second rushing touchdown of the first quarter, the Statesmen (2-7 overall, 1-5 Liberty District) had a quick 13-0 lead.
With Calvin Vaughan and Rashaan Jones alternating at quarterback, the South Lakes offense found a groove as Jones passed to Brian Brinson for a touchdown to close the gap to 13-6. After a field goal, Vaughn connected with Denny for the first time to give the Seahawks a 16-13 lead.
With less than a minute to go in the first half, the Seahawks pulled off a fake punt to keep possession as Jones found Denny for a 53-yard reception. Two plays later, Denny found the middle of the field open as Vaughn floated in a 25-yard touchdown pass for a 22-13 halftime lead.
As the field temperature dropped below 40 degrees and the rain slowly intensified, the second half became a defensive battle. South Lakes returned the second half kickoff back to the Marshall 5 but could not score as the drive ended in a missed field goal. Marshall could not convert two fourth-and-short attempts deep in South Lakes territory, but finally kicked a 24-yard field goal with a little over five minutes to play to cut the Seahawks lead to six.
South Lakes (1-8, 1-5) caught a special teams break on their next drive when Brinson managed to run for a first down on a botched punt attempt, allowing the Seahawks to maintain possession and continue to run out the clock, until a failed fourth down conversion gave Marshall the ball on their own 30 with under two minutes to go.
The Statesmen managed to drive the ball past midfield with under a minute left before Ethan Clark forced a Peter Yamaguchi fumble that South Lakes recovered, preserving the first win of the Seahawks season.
The 2011 South Lakes football season ends with a road game against Thomas Jefferson (2-7, 0-6) in Alexandria next Friday at 7:30pm.