OCALA – Homecomings are for kings, queens and defensive dog fights. All three happened Friday night as Lake Weir visited Forest for a football contest nicknamed “The Battle of Maricamp”. After four long, physical quarters Lake Weir came away with a 20-17 victory; their first over Forest in 10 years.

The first half went by quickly on the clock, but if you were spectating it seemed as if time was dragging on. Despite Lake Weir coming away with two fumble recoveries, there was a lack of explosive plays.

After a scoreless first quarter, Forest drove down to the Lake Weir 7-yard line. Leading the way was senior running back, Lamarkces Bassett who had five carries on the one drive alone.

With the Wildcats knocking at the door, the Hurricane defense dug their heels in the turf looking for a stop. On first and goal from the 7-yard line, the Hurricane defense came away with a fumble recovery; their second of the evening.

Despite the takeaway, the Lake Weir offense was stagnant. Forest’s defense stood tall forcing the Hurricanes to punt deep from within their own endzone. Nixon Mejia’s punt dribbled out to the Lake Weir 33-yard line.

Looking at a short field, the Wildcat offense looked to capitalize on their defense’s stand. And they did. After five plays, Bassett broke free for a 5-yard touchdown run.

Lake Weir’s offense, led by senior quarterback Deiontae Simpkins was quick to answer. Following a 45-yard run by Tavoo Randall, Simpkins dialed his own number and raced ahead for a 7-yard touchdown run.

Down 10-7, Lake Weir head coach Knox Robinson knew he had to find a way to motivate his team at halftime.

“We took those kids behind those old school busses,” Robinson said gesturing towards the busses outside the stadium. “And we tested their manhood. And they responded.”

The response didn’t come immediately as Simpkins forced a throw that ended up intercepted by the Forest defense.

The Wildcat offense was able to drive down to the Lake Weir 10-yard line where they were forced to settle for a field goal attempt.

Once again with their backs up against the wall, the Lake Weir defense came away with a stop. This time it came when the defensive line got a push and blocked a field goal try.

Halfway through the fourth quarter, Lake Weir took the lead for the first time of the evening after Tavoo Randall punched the ball in with a 1-yard touchdown run. The touchdown drive was set up by a 45-yard rush by Simpkins.

Looking to answer and save their homecoming night, Forest’s junior quarterback Conner Dolan led his team on a 90-yard touchdown drive. The drive was capped off by a 35-yard touchdown run by Lamarkces Bassett.

Following the touchdown, looking at third down and 20 yards to gain, Deiontae Simpkins found USF commit, Brian Dillard on a 20-yard pass play to set up a 9-yard touchdown rush for Simpkins.

Dolan and company had 1:25 to get down the field to win or tie the game. On 4th and 10, Conner Dolan heaved a pass down the field. In coverage was junior defensive back, Alex Jordan who intercepted the pass and returned it out to the Forest 11-yard line.

The Hurricane offense would finish the game in victory formation coming away with their first win over the Wildcats in 10 years.

“This was a legacy game and a program game,” Robinson said of the victory. “This is something our seniors will remember for the rest of their lives.”

As for the Wildcats who continue on their now three game losing streak, Forest head coach Ray Greene hopes to get back in the win column for the sake of his seniors, especially Lamarkces Bassett. “He’s a one of a kind kid. A lot of guys like him are speed guys. He’s got the speed and the physicality,” Greene said of his senior running back. “Hopefully we can do everything we can these next couple of games to get them some wins.”

Lake Weir improved to 5-2 with the win as they prepare to play an undefeated Vanguard squad next week in Candler at 7:30 pm. Forest will look to get in the win column next week as they play district opponent South Lake in Ocala next Friday at 7 pm.