County Football Wrap-up: Osceola remains undefeated in district play, Harmony picks up win

•OSCEOLA 58, Freedom 0

The Osceola Kowboys (6-1, 3-0) remained undefeated in district play with an impressive 58-0 win over out-manned Freedom High School. The Kowboys defense was once again dominant, recording its third consecutive shutout and fourth in seven games.

To date, the Osceola defense has allowed just six touchdowns and just 6.4 points per game – with two of those six touchdowns coming against the second and third team units late in the game.

Davon Wells (3 for 6 for 37 yards, two touchdowns) and Blake Birchler (1 for 3, seven yards, 1 TD) combined to throw three touchdown passes in the game.  That gave Osceola 14 touchdown passes for the 2019 season, the most during head coach Doug Nichols’ era with the Kowboys.

Ja’Randy Swint carried four times for 89 yards and three touchdowns and added a fourth touchdown receiving to lead the Kowboys offensively. Dewayne McGee caught two touchdown passes and Jamison Jones rushed four times for 55 yards and a score.

Osceola jumped out to a 28-0 lead after one quarter and added three second quarter touchdowns to take a 49-0 lead and trigger a running clock for the entire second half. Osceola will play a non-district road game at Manatee this week before returning home for a game against Lake Nona (5-2,  2-0) on Oct. 25.  That game will most likely determine the district champion, with the contest winner gaining an automatic post-season bid.

 •HARMONY 15, Palm Bay 14

Playing without injured quarterback Keaghan Black, the Harmony Longhorns went on the road and came back with a thrilling 15-14 win over Palm Bay. 

The Pirates looked to jump out to an early lead, but Reed Butler recovered a Palm Bay fumble in the red zone to stop a scoring drive. Sophomore Chris Skeldon, filling in for the injured Black, would then give the Longhorns a 7-0 lead on an 8-yard run. LaAnthony Valentine would give Palm Bay a 7-7 tie in the second quarter, racing 80-yards for a touchdown.

A Longhorn punt downed inside the Palm Bay 5-yard line led to a safety as Harmony took a 9-7 lead in the third quarter. Valentine’s second rushing touchdown of the game put Palm Bay back on top. But Kenneth Torres’ 13-yard run late in the fourth quarter gave Harmony the lead back at 15-14. The Longhorn defense would then hold on downs – allowing Skeldon and the offense to run out the clock.

Harmony went to 2-5 with the win and will play at Tohopekaliga next week (3-4).

 •Melbourne 21, ST. CLOUD 16

St. Cloud (5-2) could not overcome numerous turnovers and penalties as the Bulldogs upset bid of Melbourne (7-1) fell just short on the road, 21-16.

“We definitely had a fighting chance to win this game, but we shot ourselves in the foot too many times with penalties and turnovers,” Head Coach Bryan Smart said.  “We played pretty well on both sides of the ball but we failed to finish drives and couldn’t make that big stop when we had to.”

Romeo Medina’s touchdown reception from Garhett King, and a 34-yard field goal by Noah Craig gave St. Cloud a 10-7 lead in the third quarter. But back-to-back touchdowns by Melbourne put the Bulldogs in a 20-10 hole midway through the fourth quarter.

King’s second touchdown pass, this time to Patrick Forsythe, cut the gap to 21-16. The Bulldogs two-point conversion was waved off by a penalty and the second attempt failed as the deficit remained five.

“Key play in the game, if we convert we get within a field goal but again, a penalty nullified a conversion,” Smart said.

St. Cloud’s defense got a quick three-and-out, turning the ball back to its offense with three minutes to go but Melbourne’s defense held on for the win.

“They were a really good team,” Smart said. “But it was definitely a winnable game and I know our players are disappointed. Late season injuries have really hurt us, but the good thing is our kids continue to battle hard, every game, every play.”

The schedule does not get any easier for the Bulldogs, who next play Viera (4-2) at home next Friday, before hosting the annual Soldier City Classic against Harmony on Oct. 25.

 •Viera 42, TOHOPEKALIGA 6

Second-year Tohpekaliga (3-4) was no match for powerful Viera, falling 42-6. Jarvell Harris rushed for two touchdowns and quarterback Bryce North rushed for one TD and fired an 82-yard touchdown pass Davis Mallinor as Viera took a 28-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Jeremiah Housey added two more rushing touchdowns for Viera in the second half; while all Toho could manage was a 25-yard scoring strike from Tyler Wesley to Kareem Dinzey.  Toho returns to action on Friday, hosting Harmony in a non-conference game.

•Bartow 20, LIBERTY 6

The story remained the same for the Liberty Chargers– play a good opponent, fight like mad and lose a close game. Coach Brandon Pennington’s team remained winless, dropping a 20-6 decision to a solid Bartow team on the road Friday night.

 “I know it’s frustrating for our players, fans and coaches,” Pennington said. “Seems like we play our guts out every week and end up losing by a touchdown or two. We played Bartow extremely well and just made a mistake or two on offense and it cost us a chance pull the upset.”

QB Luis Maddox accounted for the Chargers only touchdown on a quarterback sneak. Senior OLB Beji Auguste and senior DT Edmundo Maldonaldo were cited by Pennington for their outstanding efforts on defense.

The road certainly does not get any easier for the Chargers, as they will travel to Lake Gibson on Friday for a non-district game against undefeated Braves (7-0).  Lake Gibson has out-scored their opponents 276-71 this season.

•George Jenkins 53, POINCIANA 13

Nasir Bowers returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown and powerful George Jenkins High (Lakeland, Fla.) never looked back as they routed Poinciana, 53-13. 

Trailing 12-0 in the game, Poinciana cut the gap to 12-7 on a 2-yard touchdown run by Anthony Holman.  But the Poinciana would not get any closer. Another long kickoff return by Bowers set up a short touchdown run by DeBritton Mobley to make it an 18-7 game. Tyriq Starks would then fire touchdown passes of 40 and 45 yards as Jenkins upped the lead to 32-7 after one period of play.

Starks added two more touchdown passes and added one rushing to give Jenkins a 47-7 lead at the half and force a running clock for the remainder of the game.  Quarterback Justin Carpenter would hit Alex Quinones on a 40-yard pass to account for Poinciana’s lone touchdown in the second half.

“We are a really beat-up team right now,” Poinciana Head Coach Randy Beeken said. “We didn’t have a lot of depth to start with, and we took a team that was missing five starters to Lakeland to play a really good George Jenkins team. Hopefully we’ll get some of those guys back soon, as we have three tough games remaining.”

Poinciana (3-4) host Bartow (4-3) on Friday night.  Bartow knocked off Liberty last weekend, 20-6.

 •Lake Gibson 57, GATEWAY 0

The Lake Gibson Braves remained undefeated on the season, beating Gateway (0-7) 57-0 at home on Friday night. 

Quarterback Logan Hackett completed 10 of 17 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns and Jaylon Glover rushed 13 times for 100 yards and three more touchdowns, as the Braves built a  41-0 lead after three quarters and cruised to the win.

Gateway will look for its first win of the season when they travel to Bayside next Friday to play the Bears (2-5).