The last time Antioch defensive lineman Jack Johnson saw Felix Schildorfer was in Texas.
And Schildorfer is certainly Texas-sized.
"Felix is an absolute animal," Johnson said of the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Schildorfer, an offensive lineman at Lake Forest Academy. "I met him and a few of his (Lake Forest Academy) teammates who also play on the line back in July at the USA International Bowl in Texas. There's a lot of good guys from the area and all over the country who get invited to it. It was a very humbling experience to be around all that talent.
"It's good to see Felix and those other guys again, but, man, all of them are so huge. They're part of the biggest offensive line I've ever seen in high school."
Johnson and the Sequoits eventually brought Lake Forest Academy back down to size under the hot sun Saturday afternoon. Despite falling behind early, Antioch outlasted the host Caxys in a 35-26 shootout in the season opener for both teams.
"We knew (Lake Forest Academy) was going to be really good," said Johnson, who made some big defensive plays (including a fumble recovery and an interception) to help neutralize the Caxys' mammoth offensive line, which includes three players weighing more than 250 pounds. "Their quarterback (Christopher Karamanos) was really good and quick and he made some plays.
"We're a young team and we just needed to get some of our new guys feeling established and once they did that, we played some great football."
Behind its big line, Lake Forest Academy moved the ball well early and took a 6-0 lead with 3:59 left in the first quarter when Mbasa Mayikana ran in a 3-yard touchdown run. Antioch answered midway through the second quarter on a 9-yard run by quarterback Alan Taylor to take a 7-6 lead.
Three minutes later, Karamanos, who completed a total of 15-of-30 passes for 233 yards, found Mathieu Gagnon for an 18-yard touchdown to put the Caxys back up again. But then Antioch scored twice in the final minute of the second quarter to take a 21-14 halftime lead. Austin Klotter hauled in a 21-yard pass from Taylor and Cameron Corey (30 rushes for 129 yards) scored on a 9-yard run.
"We started picking it up in the second quarter and then we were really moving the ball," Corey said. "I think we started off being a little scared and nervous. But right when we hit that second quarter, we were taking it to the house."
Lake Forest Academy came out of the halftime break with a surge of energy and got right back into the game by scoring on the first possession. Karamanos capped a 10-play drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Gagnon that cut the Caxys' deficit to 21-20 with 5:55 left in the third quarter.
But the Sequoits scored on the next possession (a 28-yard touchdown run by Kyle Patrick), and then got the ball right back when Karamanos threw an interception two plays later. Antioch scored yet again on a 1-yard run by Klotter to go up 35-20 with 8:04 remaining.
"I liked the way our defense overcome some adversity early, hung in there and hustled," Antioch coach Brian Glashagel said. "And once we kind of figured out some things offensively and settled in, we started making some good plays. We have a veteran offensive line and they started taking over the game later in that first half and that got us going."
Lake Forest Academy made things interesting by scoring a touchdown with 6:44 left in the fourth quarter. Karamanos hit Gagnon for a 24-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 35-26. But the Caxys turned the ball over on their next two possessions to end any hope of a comeback.
On the game, Lake Forest Academy had 4 lost fumbles and 2 interceptions.
"It kind of stunk because all during preseason camp, we stressed ball security and hanging on to the ball," Lake Forest Academy coach Robin Bowkett said. "You'll never win if you turn the ball over like we did, no matter what the other team does."