County football roundup: Storm, Eagles post impressive wins

In addition to Osceola’s shutout win over St. Cloud, several other county teams posted wins on Friday night.  The victors included an impressive 46-7 road win by Celebration over Titusville; the Tohopekaliga Eagles doubling up on Liberty, 28-14, and Poinciana taking a 29-27 squeaker over East Lake Region.

 CELEBRATION 46, Titusville 7

This one was never in doubt as Coach Jay Sobke’s Storm jumped on top 21-0 in the first quarter and kept the pressure on all game in running their season record to 3-3 with a 46-7 win over Titusville.

A fourth quarter touchdown put Celebration up by 35 and instituted a running clock for the remainder of the game.

“We played the type of game, I was expecting us to play,” Sobke said. “Our team has continued to improve each week and we were able to execute our game plan on both sides of the ball.”

Senior quarterback Will Bohn continued his outstanding season both through the air and on the ground. He passed for 252 yards and four touchdowns going 16 of 29, and also led the Storm in rushing – picking up 130 yards and another touchdown on just 12 carries. 

Lee Smith averaged 20 yards a carry, rushing three times for 61 yards and a touchdown, and sophomore wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez was Bonn’s favorite target, grabbing two passes for 93 yards and a touchdown; while adding a two-point conversion.  Defensively, Celebration had three quarterback sacks and forced two turnovers.  

The road gets tougher for the Storm this week, as they travel to Lake Nona for a district contest against the Lions, 4-2.

“They (Lake Nona) are a tremendously talented team with a lot of offensive weapons,” Sobke noted. “They are close in overall talent with Osceola and will present a great challenge to our team. Without question, we are going to have to play up to our potential and avoid mistakes.”

Boone 49, GATEWAY 35     

Casey St. John fired three touchdown passes to Javion Phillips and rushed for a fourth as Orlando’s Boone High School denied Gateway (0-6) its first win of the season, handing a 42-28 loss on the Panthers.

It was a close game for three quarters, as both teams traded touchdowns for most of the game. Gateway’s sensational running back Phillip Bangura got things off to a good start for the Panthers, when he took a pitchout, pulled up and fired a 65-yard scoring pass to Hunter Knapczyk. With the score tied 7-7, Bangura again put Gateway in the lead, returning an interception 50 yards for a touchdown.  Later in the second quarter, a Bangura rushing touchdown accounted for a third score, tying the game 21-21 at halftime.

A Chris Roberts’ touchdown run gave Boone a 28-21 lead in the third, but Jakovi Bryant raced 90-yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 28-28. But the Panthers could not match Boone’s offense for the rest of the game, as St. John connected on a pair of scoring passes to Phillips and then hung on for the win.

 “This one was a tough one for us, because we certainly had our chances,” Panther head coach Marlin Roberts said. “The game was a lot closer than the final margin as they scored a late touchdown. But still, it was frustrating because I felt we gave up at least two scores that should not have happened.”

One of those scores was a kickoff return for touchdown.  “We’ve had a rough time covering kickoffs this season,” Roberts added. “You get the momentum with an early touchdown and give that momentum right back because you allow a kickoff return for a score on the very next play.”

Roberts did go on to praise the play of Bangura, who became Gateway’s all-time leader in touchdowns scored during the game.

“For as tough as a season we have had, Phillip has remained a rock for us. Offense, defense, special teams, he continues to do it all for us. As far as team success, I know this certainly isn’t the senior season he envisioned but I am just so proud of how hard he continues to play, every game, every down.”

The Panthers will face a tough challenge on Friday night, traveling to Polk County to face the undefeated Lake Gibson Braves (6-0) in a non-district matchup.

 POINCIANA 29, Lake Region 27

The Eagles overcame a 20-7 halftime deficit to even their record at 3-3 on the season with a thrilling 29-27 road win over Lake Region High School. Justin Carpenter threw three touchdown passes, two to Zayveon Mitchell, to lead the Eagles comeback.

Trailing 13-0, Tyler Lange-Bailey got Poinciana on the board with a 2-yard touchdown run. But Imare Chandler hit Dante Booker on a 9-yard scoring pass to up the lead to 13 at the half.

Carpenter would go to work in the second half, throwing a pair of touchdown passes to keep the Eagles within shouting distance at 27-20. With four minutes to go in the game, the Eagles were faced with a fourth and 10 on their own 40, leaving Head Coach Randy Beeken with a tough choice.

“If we punt and they pick up a couple of first downs, I knew we would never see the ball again,” Beeken noted.  “We went for it and Justin was able to hit Zayveon on a long 60-yarder to tie the score.”

On the ensuing extra point, junior kicker Rhys Marsh missed, but was injured on a roughing the kicker penalty.  The Eagles were able to rush it in for the two-point conversion for the winning margin.

“It was a great win for our team,” Beeken said. “As far as I have been able to figure it out, it has been the first time since at least 2004 that Poinciana has won three games in a single season.  Hopefully we can get a couple of more.”

The road will not be an easy one for the Eagles, however.  They will next face George Jenkins (4-2) and Bartow (3-3) in back-to-back weeks.

 Bishop Moore 41, HARMONY 7

Quarterback Jeremy Ruiz threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others to lead Bishop Moore to a 41-7 win over Harmony (1-5) on Friday night.

Ruiz’s 63-yard touchdown run in the third quarter made it 41-0, and began a running clock for the remainder of the game.

Sophomore running back Chris Skeldon got Harmony on the board with a 12-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.

 The Longhorns travel to Palm Bay (1-4) this week for a non-district game.

TOHOPEKALIGA 28, LIBERTY 14

Liberty (0-6) started strong, getting a 30-yard touchdown run from Ardaireous Ingram to take a 6-0 lead into the locker room.

“We were getting the second half kickoff and I told our kids that if we could sustain a drive and score we could win the game.” Liberty Head Coach Brandon Pennington said.  “Instead we go three and out and give up two quick touchdowns and the next thing we know we are down 14-6.” 

Both of Toho’s touchdowns were set up with long passes thrown by quarterback Tyler Wesley. The Tigers would put the game away in the fourth quarter on a touchdown pass from Tyler Wesley to Sir Giles to make it a 28-6 game. Ingram would tack on a late touchdown to cut the gap to 14.

With the win, Toho evened its season record at 3-3 – topping their win total from the school’s inaugural season in 2018.  Toho travels to Viera (3-2) on Friday night; while Liberty travels to Bartow (3-3).