Lake Weir falls to Zarephath Academy on homecoming

Hurricanes commit six turnovers in loss to Eagles

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Posted October 13, 2023 | By Mark Pinson/Special to the Ocala Gazette
Photos By Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette

Zarephath Academy junior quarterback Jordan Durham threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a 34-17 win over mistake-prone Lake Weir on Friday night.

The win evened Zarephath Academy’s record at 4-4 on the season, while the loss on Lake Weir’s homecoming, which was its first home game of the season, dropped the Hurricanes, who committed six costly turnovers, to 4-3 overall.

“Turnovers will break your back if you make them,” said Lake Weir coach Jason Roberts. “We tried to fight on defense and hung in there, but you can’t make that many mistakes and expect to win. It was a rough week for us, but we’ll get up, dust ourselves off and get ready for next week.”

Lake Weir’s original opponent for Friday night’s game was Taylor County, but that game was cancelled by Taylor County leaving the Hurricanes looking for a replacement. Zarephath Academy had an open date and agreed to play the game.

Lake Weir took the opening kickoff and marched down the field behind the strong running of junior Jackson Quick and senior Amiel Raymond. The duo took turns finding holes in the Eagles’ defense behind excellent blocking and moved the ball inside the 10-yard line.

But the drive stalled, and junior kicker Jeancarlo Meja came on to boot a 32-yard field goal to give the Hurricanes a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

After an exchange of punts, Lake Weir was backed up inside its 10. A short punt and good return gave Zarephath Academy a first down on the Hurricanes’ 13-yard line.

The Eagles capitalized on the great field position in one play, as freshman running back Jamez Williams scored on a sweep around right end. Durham passed to Sidonie Limehouse for the 2-point conversion to give Zarephath Academy an 8-3 lead with 7:05 left in the second period.

Lake Weir fumbled the ball on its next possession at its 35-yard line and the Eagles recovered.

Zarephath Academy (Jacksonville) took advantage of the scoring opportunity as Durham connected with freshman wide receiver Joshua Jones on a 15-yard touchdown pass. The 2-point conversion was no good to leave the Eagles on top by a score of 14-3 at the half.

The Lake Weir defense stepped up to begin the second half, as Durham was hit as he attempted a pass and junior linebacker Jacob Cooper intercepted the ball and rumbled 22 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. The 2-point run was no good and the Hurricanes trailed, 14-9.

Zarephath Academy answered with a 12-play, 57-yard drive with Durham finding Davion Brown in the back of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to give the Eagles a 20-9 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter.

A Lake Weir fumble was recovered on the Hurricanes’ 6-yard line by Zarephath Academy safety Allan Masseline. The Eagles converted the turnover into points as Durham hit Jones on a slant pattern for an 11-yard scoring strike and a 26-9 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Lake Weir moved the ball consistently on the ground against the Eagles, but the Hurricanes’ numerous turnovers short-circuited several promising drives.

Zarephath Academy extended its lead as Durham found Limehouse for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The 2-point conversion gave the Eagles a commanding 34-9 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

Lake Weir continued to battle as Quick ripped off runs of 30 and 14 yards before bulling his way into the end zone from a yard out. Quick, who finished with 97 rushing yards on 12 carries, powered his way across the goal line for the 2-point conversion to pull the Hurricanes within 34-17 with 2:53 remaining to play.

Lake Weir attempted an onside kick, but Zarephath Academy recovered the ball at midfield and was able seal the victory.

“If you look at our three losses, we beat ourselves,” coach Roberts said. “That’s something that happens with a young team, but we’ve got to get focused and get ready for next week’s game.

The Hurricanes will look to get back on track on Friday night when they host the winless Belleview Rattlers in the battle for the oar.

“We’re going to get that oar back and that’s going to be our focus next week,” coach Roberts said. “The oar is coming back to Lake Weir.”

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