Trailing 21-14 at the half, the Longhorns (1-3, 0-1) scored 10 straight points in the third quarter to pick up their first win of the season – a 24-21 non-district win over host Gateway (0-4, 0-1).
In the victory, the Longhorns only threw 10 passes, the fewest since head coach Don Simon took over the program.
“Certainly wasn’t the game plan coming in but our running game was clicking from the start,” Simon noted. “It seems like we were getting at least four yards on every play, so we decided to stick with the run all game.”
Harmony fell behind 21-14 in the first half, but shut out the Panthers in the second half to earn the victory. Sophomore quarterback Keaghan Black threw touchdowns to Kenneth Torres and Michael Marion, and freshman running back Tyler Emans had a rushing touchdown for the Longhorns, but it was kicker Reece Allison who provided the difference. He hit on a third quarter field goal to put Harmony up for the first time in the game.
The Longhorns return to action this Friday, hosting Viera (1-2, 0-0), a 20-6 loser to Rockledge last week.
“It will be a tough district challenge for us,” Simon noted. “They are a big, athletic team.”
For Gateway, the Panthers played their best game of the year but once again fell short.
“We got a lot of young players at key positions, especially in the secondary,” Gateway Head Coach Marlin Roberts said. “Once again key mistakes and penalties killed our chances of getting a win. We’re getting better, but we still our making too many mental errors.”
One area that improved was the play of Roberts’ offensive line. Totally dominated in the first two games, they opened enough holes to let senior running back Philip Bangura have his best rushing game of the season as he gained 207 yards on the ground.
“Our O-line definitely has played better that last two weeks. They did a decent job of staying on their blocks and giving Philip a chance,” Roberts said. “A lot of his yardage was from his personal efforts, but again our young guys are playing better up front.”
As to this week’s rivalry game with St. Cloud, Roberts anticipates a tough challenge.
“Their quarterback chucks it around pretty good and I’m sure they are going to try to exploit our young secondary,” Roberts added, “It’s going to be big challenge for our guys.”
ST. CLOUD 48, CELEBRATION 13
The Bulldogs (4-0. 1-0) kept their unbeaten season going with a 48-13 non-district win over Celebration (1-3, 0-1) last Friday. The Bulldogs exploded for 42 first half points before adding a touchdown in the third quarter to activate the running clock.
Garhett King completed 16 of 26 passes for 261 yards and five touchdowns, and the St. Cloud running game clicked with 134 yards rushing. Keron Perrin caught three passes for 42 yards and a touchdown, and also added three rushes for 22 yards and a score. Patrick Forsyth also had a rushing and receiving touchdown as St. Cloud went to 4-0 for the first time since 2016.
“Although we have had success in winning games, this was really the first time this season that I felt our offense really operated efficiently all season,” St. Cloud Head Coach Bryan Smart said. “Garhett King did an excellent job stepping up in the pocket and delivering the ball with some authority.”
Smart added that he was expecting a stiff challenge from Gateway on Friday.
“They had some issues with their offensive line early, but it looks like they are starting to get that straightened out. Coach Roberts does an excellent job with those kids and the running back Philip Bangura is sensational. This is going to be a tough game for us, I just hope we can keep the momentum going that we established last week.”
The Storm was led by quarterback Will Bohn, who completed 13 of 27 for 189 yards. Celebration travels to Freedom High School for a Friday night district game. Freedom (1-2) won its first game of the season with a 36-0 win over Colonial High School. The Bulldogs have a non-district game against cross-town rival Gateway.
POINCIANA 27, TENEROC 7
The Eagles evened their season record at 2-2, with an impressive 27-7 win over Lakeland’s Teneroc High School on Friday.
Although dominating play in the first half, the Eagle defense made a mental lapse, broke containment and gave up a long touchdown run that allowed Teneroc to take a 7-7 tie into the locker room at halftime.
“We didn’t finish a couple of drives and we allowed that one big play,” Poinciana Head Coach Randy Beeken said. “But we came out in the second half and executed our game plan on both offense and defense and pretty much dominated the game.”
Senior quarterback Justin Carpenter had a big night, throwing for two touchdowns and running for a third. One of the touchdown passes went to senior wide receiver Treyvion Gunter.
“Justin has a really good night for us,” Beeken noted. “He’s not the fleetest of foot quarterback but he did a terrific job of moving in the pocket and keeping plays alive.”
The Eagles open district play this week, hosting Winter Haven.
“The state did us no favors in sticking us in the same district as Winter Haven, George Jenkins and Bartow,” Pennington noted. “It’s going to be a huge challenge for our young team.”
LIBERTY (0-4, 0-1)
The Chargers will seek its first win of the season when it hosts George Jenkins (3-2, 0-1) in a district game on Friday. Jenkins broke a two-game losing streak with a 28-7 win over Haines City last week.
“Being in a new district, George Jenkins is an unknown for us,” Liberty Head Coach Brad Pennington said. “We’re both 0-1 in the district and we’re both looking up at Bartow and Winter Haven. Obviously it’s an important game for both teams.”
Pennington went on to praise his team’s efforts in the loss to Osceola.
“I thought we fought for four quarters,” Pennington noted. “Right now we only are dressing 35 and frankly we are forced to play our best players both on offense and defense. When that happens, you are going to have depth issues in the second half when you play the better teams that can platoon.”
OSCEOLA (3-1, 1-0)
After winning its 35 consecutive game against in-county opposition with the win against Liberty, the Kowboys (3-1. 0-1) turn their attention back to district play when they travel to Cypress Creek.
“We were not sharp in the first half against Liberty,” Head Coach Doug Nichols said. “Hopefully we will take that as a lesson and avoid those same mistakes against Cypress Creek. It’s a district game and hopefully we will come out focused.
Mark Deas’ team is coming off a bye week and will host Melbourne (4-1, 1-0) in a key district game on Friday night. Melbourne picked up its fourth consecutive win last Friday, beating Titusville, 42-0.