DeWayne McGee rushed for a career-high 237 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Osceola Kowboys (3-0) to their 27th consecutive regular season victory with a 34-14 win over Viera on Friday night.
McGee scored on runs of 49, 57 and 60 yards in the game and totaled 166 in the first half alone. But for the second time in three games, the Kowboys’ offense was not limited to its vaunted running game as quarterback Davon Wells completed all three of his passing attempts – including two scoring passes or 18 and 52 yards to Jymon Coleman.
Wells has now thrown four touchdown passes in just nine passing attempts this season.
“Without question the ability to throw the ball is going to help us as the season progresses,” Osceola Head Coach Doug Nichols said. “Viera came out with eight players in the box and had a safety creeping up before the snap. There’s no place to run in that situation, so when we hit that touchdown pass early it loosened things up. Just the threat of being able to throw the ball will help our running game.”
While the offense was clicking, the Kowboys defense also stepped up in the win.
Viera quarterback Bryce Norton completed 14 of 26 passes for 196 yards but was sacked six times by the Osceola defense, which also recorded two stops inside the red zone and forced two fumbles.
Defensive tackle Mario Kendricks (2 quarterback sacks), linebacker Najah Slyvester (forced fumble, fumble recovery, 1.5 sacks) and defensive lineman Boris Espinosa (1.5 QS) came up big for the Kowboys.
“What’s really encouraging is we have some depth on the defensive front,” Nichols said. “We are rotating six players there and its keeping everyone fresh.”
Nichols added that Viera did provide his team with a challenge. “Norton is a really, really good quarterback, who does a great job of rolling out and keeping plays alive with his feet. We knew he could present some problems for us tonight, but overall I thought we did a pretty good job of containing him,” Nichols added. “Our defensive staff did a great job coming up with a game plan to try to keep him in the lanes and put some pressure on him.”
Viera (0-3) took the opening kickoff and quickly moved down field with four first downs. But Sean Atkins, who had four receptions for 41 yards on the opening drive, was shaken up on a 29-yard pass play from Norton and never returned to the game.
From that point on it was all Osceola.
The Kowboys scored on its first possession on the Well to Coleman pass and upped the lead to 13-0 later in the quarter on McGee’s 49-yard run. Viera would cut the lead to 13-7 when they recovered an Osceola fumble deep in Kowboy territory. On its first play after the turnover, Jalen Housey broke loose up the middle on a 25-yard touchdown for Viera to cut the deficit to 13-7.
But McGee would bust a 57-yard touchdown run on the next series, as Osceola opened up a 19-7 lead. In the closing seconds of the first half, Osceola would force a punt and take over at midfield with 57 seconds remaining. Wells would loft a pass down the right sideline that was tipped by a Viera defender before falling into Coleman’s hands for a 52-yard touchdown.
On Osceola’s first play of the second half, McGee broke loose on a 60-yard touchdown run to make it 34-7 and salt the game away.
The Kowboys now host Winter Haven (3-0) on Friday.
“Coach Tate does a good job with his players and its my understanding they have a quarterback who can really throw it. It should be another good test for us as we get ready for district play,” Nichols added.