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Kowboys play scoreless tie; Bulldogs roughed up at Lake Minneola

Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 5:00 pm

By J. Daniel Pearson
For the News-Gazette

It takes a lot to rattle Osceola head football Coach Doug Nichols.

So when his team managed only 104 yards of total offense, failed to score a single point, had two punts travel a combined total of seven yards and committed two turnovers in Thursday night’s scoreless spring game tie against Bishop Moore, Nichols was anything but upset.

“It’s a spring game so I’m not worried about our offense or the result in the least,” Nichols said. “We lost a lot of great playmakers off of last season’s team and we knew our offense was going to be a work in progress.   Add the sloppy weather conditions and the fact we were playing a pretty good team and things like this are going to happen.”

Nichols in fact praised the work of his defense, which held the Hornets to just 89 yards of total offense, forced two turnovers of their own, and turned back the only two scoring threats of the entire game.

News-Gazette Photo/Martin Maddock
Osceola defensive lineman Trey Varnado (34) works to drag down a Bishop Moore ballcarrier in Thursday’s scoreless spring game tie.

“I could not be happier with the way we played on defense,” the veteran coach said.  “I really wasn’t expecting that good of an effort given we were missing four down linemen and a starting safety.”

Osceola’s defense was dominating all night, giving up just 46 yards on 26 carries (1.8 yards per carry) and allowing just 43 yards through the air.

Still, the young Kowboy offense could not capitalize. Osceola gained just 104 yards on the night, all on the ground. DeWayne McGee led all ball carriers with 31 yards on seven carries, while Tayquan Pinellas added 21 yards on six carries, as both teams struggled to move the ball and the entire game was played mostly between the 30-yard lines.

With 2:24 remaining in the game, the Hornets recovered a bad punt snap at the Osceola 11 yard line. But the Kowboys defense held and a 25-yard Bishop Moore field goal attempt sailed wide left to preserve the 0-0 tie.

“The weather had a lot to do with the kicking game mistakes,” Nichols said. “It’s still is an area we will address.”

The Kowboys, who have gone 80-12 under Nichols that last seven years, are coming off an undefeated regular season and a 10-1 mark overall.  But the Kowboys lost several outstanding offensive playmakers to graduation, including quarterback Braxton Jones, and running backs Da’nas Pinellas, Jakobe Thomas and Malcolm Davidson.

News-Gazette Photo/Martin Maddock
Osceola defensive linemen Trey Varnado (34), Dylan Ruiz (42), Kamond Manning (44) and linebacker Jhamal Williams (36) ready at the line of scrimmage for a Bishop Moore offensive play in Thursday’s scoreless spring game.

“Obviously we have a lot of work to do on offense,” Nichols added.  “But we have our offensive line mostly in tact from a year ago and we have some talented young players coming up.  We will use tonight as a lesson, work hard this summer and come back in August ready to go to work.”

BULLDOGS GET ROUGHED UP: St. Cloud running back and slot receiver Seth Johnson was one of the few bright spots in a 40-12 loss to Lake Minneola moved to Monday due to the weather.

“Our receivers looked good, but they have a good team that came out and punched us in the mouth and we didn’t respond like I’d hoped,” Bulldogs Coach Bryan Smart said. “We didn’t get a lot of offensive snaps because the defense was out there a lot. We have a lot of work to do during the summer, luckily we don’t play a meaningful game until the end of August (the 31st, against Osceola).”