To say the Osceola’s offense was efficient in their dismantling of St. Cloud on Friday night would be a major understatement.
Before a large crowd, the Kowboys scored four touchdowns on its first seven plays from scrimmage to build a 26-0 lead and cruise to a 43-0 win in the 96th meeting between the two oldest schools in Osceola County.
“We sort of preached all week about the importance of getting off to a fast start,” Kowboys head coach Doug Nichols said. “We scored on the second play of the game and got a quick three and out on defense and things just sort of snowballed from there.”
Actually, the Kowboys (5-1) scored on their first play from scrimmage, but Dewayne McGee’s 70-yard touchdown run was called back on an offense holding penalty. It did not matter much. After a false start penalty and a loss of two yards on a running play, the Kowboys made it 6-0 when quarterback Davon Wells hooked up with Koby Smith on a 75-yard scoring pass.
After a three-and-out resulted in a short punt, Osceola needed just one play to make it 12-0 when McGee raced 30 yards untouched for a touchdown. The Kowboys followed another short punt with a 15-yard run by Ja’Randy Swint with a 30-yard scoring jaunt by Roshaun Dudley to take a 20-0 lead.
St. Cloud managed to pick up three first downs on its next possession, but were forced to punt – giving the ball up at midfield. On the first play, Wells started left on a sweep, reversed directions, and ran down the right sideline for 43 yards. One play later, Swint scored from the two to make it 26-0 at the 5:54 mark of the first quarter.
“I have no explanation,” a frustrated St. Cloud head Coach Bryan Smart said after the game. “The one thing we could not afford to do – give up a quick score – was the one thing we did over and over in that first quarter. It was almost like we were a little shell shocked after giving up that first big play and before we blinked we were down four scores.”
Wells would tack on a 21-yard scoring run to start the second quarter to give the Kowboys a 33-0 lead at the half.
The St. Cloud offense finally started to show some signs of life in the third quarter, taking the opening kickoff of the second half and marching from their own 25 to the Osceola 15. But three plays resulted in a minus three yards and the drive ended with a thud when the Osceola defense sacked quarterback Garhett King on fourth down.
The game would go to a running clock late in the third period on Spencer Richards’ 33-yard field goal and Osceola would tack on a late touchdown on Nahjah Smith’s 2-yard run.
For the game, Osceola had more points (43) than offensive plays (37) and averaged more than 10 yards per play, gaining 373 yards of total offense. The Kowboys defense allowed just seven first downs, had three quarterback sacks and gave up just 123 yards of total offense.
“Our defense played really well tonight,” Nichols added. “St. Cloud has some really talented offensive players and to shut them out was a great accomplishment.”
“All the credit belongs to Osceola,” Smart said as his team fell to 5-1. “They are incredibly talented and well coached and we simply did not have an answer for them tonight. I told our kids the important thing to remember is this was a non-district game and we can still accomplish all the goals we set for ourselves as the beginning of the season.”
The Kowboys return to action next Friday, hosting Freedom. St. Cloud travels to Melbourne for a district game.
GAME NOTES: With the win, Osceola now leads the all-time series 65-27-4 and has won 23 of the last 24 games between the two schools…St. Cloud’s 5-0 record coming in was their best start since 2012 when the team also started 5-0…the 96th meeting makes the St. Cloud – Osceola series the 5th longest in Florida history…St. Cloud’s last wins in the series came with back-to-back victories in 2004-05…The Bulldogs also came out on top in a 41-35 overtime game in 2010, but later had to forfeit the game on a player eligibility issue…With Well’s 75-yard touchdown pass to Koby Smith in the first quarter, the Kowboys now have 11 touchdown passes in six games – the most since Shaquan Harrison threw 12 touchdown passes in the Kowboys 13-1 season in 2012…Wells finished the game with 158 yards of total offense and two touchdowns on just seven plays (four passes and three rushes)…Osceola’s defense recorded its third shutout of the season and is now allowing just 7.5 points per game…21 of the 45 points they have given up this year have come against their reserves after the game was well in hand.