Sadly for the Highlanders, the Indians beat them on the road at Immokalee 38-21. Playing on a field and a stadium that could rival that of a small college, the Highlanders played on one of the newest versions of artificial turf. The surface is much more like grass than previous versions and is a very fast, springy playing surface. This clearly gave some advantage to the Indians as they had home-field advantage and the ability to conduct practice on the surface prior to playing Lake Wales on Friday. The Indians were photographed by Naples News practicing out on the turf surface in their Wednesday game preparations. The Highlanders had to adapt to the surface during the game.
The Indians were playing well on both sides of the ball. Offensively they gave a determined effort that penetrated the Lake Wales defense with a well-oiled passing game. The Indians struck early offensively on the game’s first play when quarterback Tshumbai Johnson hit a wide-open receiver near the 40-yard line. The Highlander defense was clearly caught off-guard by the play called by the Indians and were unable to stop a touchdown on the play. However, it should be noted that some key defensive players were hurting from the previous weeks of play and were unable to play in Friday night’s game.
Offensively, despite some wonderful running from Earnest Hamilton, key starters who had also been such an important part of the running game either had to sit out or play very little due to injury. Jonte’ Sergeant and Justin Henderson were both suffering with injury. The running game this year provided an attack led by Sergeant, Hamilton, Henderson and Tony Reeves that was a challenge for any defense this season. Hamilton, Reeves and quarterback Railond Garrett provided some great running effort during the evening in the absence of both Sargeant and Henderson.
The Highlanders finish their season with an 8-5 record and finished 12th in their division statewide.