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Kowboys edge Dr. Phillips in Kickoff Classic

Posted on Saturday, August 19, 2017 at 12:13 am

Osceola edged Dr. Phillips in the Kickoff Classic Friday at Kowboys field. File Photo

By Rick Pedone
Sports Editor

If they play this one again in November, buy a ticket.

Osceola, using its talented, opportunistic defense and a herd of speedsters in the offensive backfield, edged Dr. Phillips, 30-27, Friday at the Kickoff Classic at Kowboys field.

Kowboys kicker Marcos Espana kicked a 26-yard field goal with 6:34 to play for the winning points.

The teams combined for three state title game appearances over the past three years, and based on what they displayed on Friday, it wouldn’t be a shock to see one of these two roll up to Camping World Stadium in December for the 8A championship.

Kowboys defensive lineman Eliot Bodre, a senior, played a huge role after making a sack, recovering one fumble and forcing another, which proved to be the game-saver.

With the Panthers driving late in the fourth quarter, Bodre blew through the center of the line and drilled running back Devodney Alford, causing the turnover that was recovered by defensive back Deshawn Baker at the OHS 24 with 2:41 to play.

Osceola made one first down and ran out the clock.

Bodre, a member of a defensive front called by Coach Doug Nichols as the best he ever coached, said that OHS has been waiting nine months, since last November’s playoff upset loss against Treasure Coast, to make a point.

“We wanted to let everyone know that the Kowboys are still here to play,” he said. “We don’t want everyone to think that we lie down like we did last year. We wanted to earn everyone’s respect in the state of Florida. We came in with a chip on our shoulder.”

Osceola’s defense scored one touchdown – a first-period pick-six by senior DB Quayvon Brown –  and set up another after Bodre’s fumble recovery in the second period was followed one play later by a 17-yard scoring dash by Da’Nas Pinellas. That put OHS up 20-7 with 6:04 left in the half.

Pinellas caught a 10-yard TD pass from Braxton Jones (4-6-71, 1 TD) in the first quarter, when OHS built a 13-0 lead.

The Kowboys were plus-three in turnovers, and they needed that advantage to thwart a potent Panthers offense led by transfer quarterback Beshaun McCrey. McCrey (21-25-250, 2 TDs) accounted for more than 300 of DP’s 351 total yards with his arm and legs (six carries, 51 yards).

“We knew he was pretty good, but we just played our defense,” said Brown.

McCrey threw TD passes of 41 yards to Devon Buckhanon and 53 yards to Alford, who also scored on a 3-yard sweep.

Alford’s pass reception tied the score at 27 just 42 seconds after OHS running back Dewayne McGee scored on a 4-yard run late in the third quarter. Jones’ 44-yard pass to Malcolm Davidson set up McGee’s score.

The Kowboys drove 54 yards to set up the winning field goal.

Coach Doug Nichols called that a “character drive.”

“We’ve got enough seniors on this team to hold things together. What I liked is that when one side or the other got in trouble, the other group would come on the field and say, ‘Don’t worry, we got you covered.’” Nichols said. “That showed a lot of maturity.”

The Kowboys finished with 242 yards, 177 on the ground. That is a relatively modest total for a team that usually averages 350 rushing yards. But, Dr. Phillips has a big, active defense, and the Kowboys offensive line started two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior on Friday. Senior Cameron Dwyer, the offensive line veteran, missed the game because of illness, Nichols said.

“They did OK. We’ve got some pretty good speed in our backfield. Malcolm Davidson is a pretty talented back, and so is Da’Nas and Pat Kelly and Jakobe Thomas. Those dudes can find some room if you give them a chance,” Nichols said.

It was fun, but it didn’t count. But, should each team reach the playoffs, there could be a rematch.

The Kowboys open the regular season Thursday at Lake Gibson, a Class 6A state finalist last year.

Gateway traveled to Tampa Freedom for its Kickoff Classic and was rewarded with a 27-7 victory. Also winning Friday was Poinciana over Clearwater International Academy, 29-13. Harmony was a big winner, rolling over Palm Bay Bayside, 41-0.

Other county squads did not fare so well. Boone downed St. Cloud, 27-19;  Palatka stopped Liberty 30-13 and Fort Meade blanked Celebration, 48-0.