It wasn’t easy, but the Sunlake Seahawks secured its first win of the season — and maintained its dominance over the Land O’ Lakes Gators in the 11th annual “Butter Bowl” rivalry game, with a 37-20 victory.
The Sept. 22 road win marks the Seahawks’ (1-3) eighth straight victory over the Gators (1-2) since the series began in 2007.
Trailing 14-3 midway through the third quarter, the Seahawks battled back with a potent rushing attack and key special teams plays, rallying to a 27-0 run.
Sunlake entered halftime with a 3-0 lead, but quickly surrendered two straight scores early in the third quarter — both touchdown runs by Gators running back Kyle Leivas.
Undeterred, the Seahawks answered with four consecutive touchdowns, taking advantage of solid field position to set up scoring drives.
The tide of the game shifted once Sunlake fullback Grant Henderson ripped off a 37-yard kick return to create an easy scoring opportunity at the Land O’ Lakes’ 25 yard line.
Minutes later, Sunlake defensive lineman Trent Shorey blocked a punt that was recovered by tailback Bryant Beacham, setting up a 16-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Seahawks didn’t trail again.
Besides a dominant first-half defense and timely special teams plays, the Seahawks combined for over 300 rushing yards and five touchdowns, including two apiece by Beacham and Henderson.
Though it wasn’t enough, the Gators received a standout performance from sophomore quarterback Ethan Forrester, who threw for 243 yards and one touchdown on just 11 completions. He’s thrown for 439 yards through three games.
Next up: Sunlake travels to Springstead (2-1), while Land O’ Lakes travels to Cypress Creek. Both games are Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Land O’ Lakes
Quarterback Ethan Forrester: 234 yards, one touchdown, 44 percent completion percentage
Tailback Kyle Levias: 130 all-purpose yards, two touchdowns
Wide Receiver Taylor Winn: 87 yards, three receptions, one touchdown
Safety/Wide Receiver Nate Howard: 13 total tackles; 70 yards on three receptions
Quarterback Hunter Watts: 45 yards passing, 88 yards rushing, one touchdown
Tailback Bryant Beacham: 143 yards on 17 carries, two touchdowns
Fullback Grant Henderson: 61 all-purpose yards, two touchdowns
Kicker Grant Presson: 32-yard field goal, four-of-five PATs (Point-after touchdowns)
Butter Bowl series history
Sunlake leads 8-3
2017: Sunlake 37, Land O’ Lakes 20
2016: Sunlake 21, Land O’ Lakes 3
2015: Sunlake 34, Land O’ Lakes 0
2014: Sunlake 42, Land O’ Lakes 14
2013: Sunlake 38, Land O’ Lakes 21
2012: Sunlake 18, Land O’ Lakes 6
2011: Sunlake (Land O’ Lakes forfeit due to recruiting violations)
2010: Sunlake 29, Land O’ Lakes 21
2009: Land O’ Lakes 42, Sunlake, 14
2008: Land O’ Lakes 28, Sunlake 0
2007: Land O’ Lakes 26, Sunlake 0
-Stats compiled using Maxpreps.com-
Published September 27, 2017