Midway through the second quarter, Osceola found itself locked into a tight 7-7 road game with Vero Beach. Unfortunately, that would be as good as it would get for the Kowboys, who were totally dominated for the rest of the game in a somewhat surprising 34-7 loss.
“Our offense was the real killer tonight,” Osceola Head Coach Doug Nichols said of his team that fell to 5-2 on the season. “We didn’t block very well, we dropped passes and our backs missed holes. You can’t go three and out on every series and expect your defense to not get worn out.”
The 27-point differential was Osceola’s worst regular season loss since the Kowboys dropped a 41-6 decision to Madison County more than a decade ago.
At the beginning, it looked like it would be a good game.
Vero Beach would take a 7-0 lead when Bobby McMillan scored on a 3-yard run. The touchdown was also set up by McMillan, who converted a fourth down play with a 38-yard run. Osceola would answer right back. Chad Mascoe avoided a rush and hit Donald Cummings on a 36-yard catch and run for a score to tie the game at seven after one period of play.
But things would quickly go south for the visitors. Vero’s Gabriel Espinosa would hit a pair of field goals to extend the lead to 13-7 at the half. The second one coming from 26 yards as time expired in the half.
With momentum on their side and getting the ball first in the second half, McMillan and quarterback Jackson Narin would take over. After the teams exchanged turnovers to start the half, McMillan would score his second touchdown on a 2-yard run to make it 20-7 midway through the third quarter, before Narin put the game away with a 68-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Ferguson on the Indian’s next possession.
Vero would tack on a late touchdown after Osceola failed to cover a shanked punt and a lineman returned the ball inside the Osceola 10-yard line. Three plays later, Narin would hit McMillan on a short touchdown pass for the 34-7 final. For the game, McMillan scored three touchdowns – rushing for 114 yards and catching 43 yards in passes. Narin had exceptional night, continually evading a strong Osceola pass rush to complete 23 of 32 passes for 268 yards and two scores.
Osceola’s offense failed to gain 200 net yards. Mascoe was nine of 24 for 74 yards and when four quarterback sacks were factored in, the Kowboys gained just 94 yards rushing. Ja’Randy Swint managed 92 rushing yards for Osceola.
“We’ve been running hot and cold all season,” Nichols noted. “I’m not ready to push the panic button yet, but we need to start dealing with adversity a little bit better.” Osceola will have a bye this week in the first round of the FHSAA Playoffs, before traveling to the winner of next week’s Palm Harbor vs. Alonso game on Nov. 20.