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Osceola plays another heavyweight for season opener

Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 8:54 pm

Osceola’s Quayvon Brown intercepted this pass and returned it for a touchdown against Dr. Phillips. Photo/Martin Maddock

By Rick Pedone
Sports Editor
Even Doug Nichols wonders what the coach was thinking when he put together Osceola’s 2017 football schedule.
Just six days after Nichols’ Kowboys edged Class 8A state runner-up Dr. Phillips, 30-27, at Kowboys field during the Kickoff Classic, Osceola Thursday ventures to Lake Gibson for the regular season opener.
The Braves, ranked No. 139 in the country by CBS Sports, were the Class 6A runners-up last season.
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
The Braves walloped Winter Haven, 35-7, at the Kickoff Classic.
“Dr. Phillips, Lake Gibson, St. Cloud, Viera, Winter Haven, Ridge, Tampa Jesuit, Gateway, Lake Brantley … yeah, the guy who put that one together probably needs his head examined,” Nichols joked after the Dr. Phillips win. “Some of that was planned, and some of it was because we couldn’t get anyone else. We’ll know what we have after we get through this schedule, that’s for sure.”
Osceola, using its talented, opportunistic defense and a herd of speedsters in the offensive backfield, edged Dr. Phillips after Kowboys kicker Marcos Espana kicked a 26-yard field goal with 6:34 to play for the winning points.
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).
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. He might play Thursday.
“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.
The Kowboys coach said he has a special feeling about this team.
“Yeah, the guys who graduated are probably going to get mad when they hear this, but I really enjoy coaching this bunch. It’s a fun group to work with and they all get along with one another, help each other out as much as they can,” he said.
Osceola plays its regular season home opener Sept. 1 against St. Cloud.