Kowboys clinch 7A-6 title
By Ken Jackson
The Osceola Kowboys are headed to the regional playoffs for the seventh straight year.
Osceola claimed the 7A-6 district championship with a 21-0 win over Gateway Friday at Kowboys field.
The Kowboys (7-2, 5-0 in 7A-6) held the Panthers (3-5, 2-3) to 91 offensive yards and five first downs, and Daequan Harrison and Dwight Fagan hooked up for a pair of touchdown passes in a win that had OHS Coach Doug Nichols gritting his teeth for the better part of three quarters.
Osceola’s offense, which has averaged more than 300 rushing yards per game, was held to 176 total yards by a Panthers defense that has held three other district opponents to under 170 yards.
“Their front seven, they are really good, and we knew they were,” Nichols said of Gateway’s defense. “We needed our defense to keep us in it and I’m pretty proud of their effort.”
The Kowboys scored easily on their first possession, taking just five plays to drive 40 yards. Nazayah Brown’s 1-run put OHS up 7-0 after Josh Marsh’s PAT.
The Kowboys tacked on to the lead in the second quarter with on a trick play when Fagan passed to Harrison on a double-reverse halfback option on third-and-goal from the 19.
Those two would reverse roles in their normal roles, with Harrison finding Fagan wide open on a 24-yard touchdown pass with 5:10 left in the game that provided some insurance.
Fullback Laderrien Wilson led the Kowboys with 90 yards on 16 carries.
Fagan and Harrison are both seniors who have played on the varsity in all three of the Kowboys’ most recent district championship seasons.
“It’s good to get that out of the way,” Nichols said. “It’s just a tribute to all the work our kids put in every week and every season.”
Osceola hosts St. Cloud in the state of Florida’s fifth-oldest rivalry next week in a district game that will not have an impact on the standings.
“It’s hard for that to be a rivalry anymore,” Nichols said. “You take the 50 kids from our program and the 50 from (St. Cloud) and ask how many had a relative play in that game. The number will be about 10.”
After an off week, the Kowboys will host the loser of next week’s Lakeland-Kathleen matchup in the 7A Region 2 quarterfinals.
Lake Nona and Harmony will play next Friday for the 7A-6 district runner-up spot.