Trailing 7-0 after giving up a long touchdown on a broken play, Osceola Head Coach Doug Nichols said he walked up and down the Kowboy sidelines looking in his players.
“I saw no panic and I saw no concern. Instead I saw a team that looked ready to take care of business,” Nichols said.
And take care of business they did.
Osceola would score a touchdown on their first possession and then again on their next four opportunities to take a 35-7 lead on their way to a convincing 58-21 win over Riverview in a Class 8A, Region 2 quarterfinal game on Friday night at Henry Ramsey Field.
The Kowboys (9-1) will take on state-power Dr. Phillips (9-2) on the road in a Regional Semifinal next Friday night.
After giving up an 85-yard touchdown pass on a 3rd and 15 play, Osceola would tie the game at 7-7, when Davon Wells capped off an 8-play drive on a 6-yard touchdown run. The defense would force a quick three-and-out and Jerry Wilson would set Osceola up deep in Riverview territory with a 25-yard punt return. Three plays later Ja’Randy Swint would score from the 12 on a run to make it 14-7.
From there, the rout would commence. Osceola’s defense would limit Riverview to 41 net yards on six possessions, while its offense would get four touchdowns and a field goal to build a 42-7 lead.
During that span, DeWayne McGee would score back-to-back touchdowns on a 26-yard run and a 20-yard reception. Swint would add touchdowns on a 27-yard run and a 40-yard pass reception and Spencer Richards would cap the 45-0 run with a 42-yard field goal.
Riverview would cut the gap to 45-14 at the half, taking advantage of a sloppy defensive play and penalty. Taking over on its own 35 with just six seconds left, Shark quarterback Stazion Gage would dump a screen pass off to Tyriq Thornton who broke two tackles and raced 55 yards to Osceola 10 as time expired. But the Kowboys were also called for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the play and Gage would use the un-timed down to throw a touchdown pass to Jordan Schell.
An 11-yard TD run by Jamo Jones would push the lead to 51-14 midway through the fourth quarter to give Osceola a 37-point lead and start a running clock for the remainder of the game.
Although Osceola gave up touchdown plays of 85 and 70 yards and allowed the long 50 yard pass to Thornton, the defense was otherwise outstanding. They recorded five quarterback sacks, recovered a fumble, had an interception and added six other tackles-for-loss in allowing just eight other yards of total offense on Riverview’s 28 other plays from scrimmage.
“Our defense continues to do an great job for us. It’s really encouraging that our back seven players on defense only has one senior on it. Obviously we have more football to play this year but it certainly looks promising for the future too,” Nichols added.
Counting sacks, Riverview would finish the game with a 43 yards rushing on 16 carries. They came into the game averaging 246 yards a game rushing. Overall, they finished with 213 yards of total offense.
Osceola would once again spread the ball around. Nine different players carried the ball for 281 yards (8.5 yards average) and six touchdowns. Wells and Blake Birchler completed six of 13 yards for 84 yards and two touchdowns, as Osceola totaled 365 yards of total offense. Swint accounted for 130 yards from scrimmage with three touchdowns on just seven touches.