Following Friday night’s 31-7 win over Celebration, Poinciana coach Randy Beeken called it his team’s most complete effort of the season.
The Eagles got stellar efforts from all three phases of the game. Defensively, Emarion Hampton intercepted two passes, returning one 37 yards for a touchdown. The Poinciana front seven harassed Celebration quarterback Foster Searcy into a 10 for 34 passing night – intercepting him three times and limiting him to less than 170 yards.
On offense, the Eagles got 197 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Guy Bond and also had a third string quarterback lead a pair of second half scoring drives. Even special teams got into the act, as kicker/punter Rhys Marsh booted a 37-yard field goal and continually flipped the field on the Storm by averaging 50 yards on three first half points.
“I told them after the game how proud I was of their efforts in every single phase of the game,” Beeken said of his team that won for the second time in eight games this season. “I also reminded them that there were two or three other games this season where if we had given the same effort we might have won. We have one game left on our schedule with a chance to go out on a positive note.”
Poinciana had to overcome some adversity in the game.
Starting quarterback Michael Tovine exited the game in the second quarter with a broken collar bone and back-up Shawn Kessler injuring an ankle one play later. With his third string quarterback missing the game with personal reasons, Beeken was forced to play wide receiver Alex Quinones the rest of the game – a position Quinones says, “I’ve never played in my life.”
Quinones struggled with the snaps, failing to handle a half a dozen from shotgun formation, but he completed three of four pass attempts and rushed 46 yards on seven attempts. He led three scoring drives in the game.
“The snaps were simply a case of nerves, the kid never played quarterback before and he was too concerned about what he was going to do with the ball before he actually got it,” Beeken said. “But he really came in and did what we needed him to do.”
Poinciana jumped out to a 7-0 lead by going 12 plays and 75 yards in the first quarter. Bond accounted for 41 yards on six runs with Tovine covering the last two yards on a keeper. Late in the second period, Hampton was playing center field – picking off a floater from Searcy and running it back for a score. A second Hampton pick set up Marsh’s 37-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
“We haven’t had the type of season we wanted but our special teams, especially Rhys, have been outstanding all season,” Beeken added.
Leading 17-0 at the half, Bond tackled on touchdown runs of 22 and 80 yards in the second half as the Eagles build a 31-0 lead.
Celebration would finally get on the board later in the third quarter as Searcy capped off a 13-play, 80-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run with 54 seconds remaining. For the game, sophomore O’Niel Senatus was outstanding for the Storm, 1-5. Senatus rushed 18 times for 123 yards and caught three passes for 93 yards. Sophomore Griffin Davis had four grabs for 47 yards and Searcy – also just a sophomore – passed for 177 yards and scored a touchdown rushing.
The Storm take on Gateway (2-6) next week; while Poinciana travels to Umatilla (2-6).