Both the Osceola Kowboys and St. Cloud Bulldogs rolled to big victories in their season openers on Friday night; while Poinciana also came up with a win against Teneroc. Here’s a look around the county:
OSCEOLA 56, LIBERTY 0
Despite graduating 11 players who earned Osceola News-Gazette All-County honors last season, the Osceola Kowboys served noticed that they will once again be one of the top teams in Central Florida with a 56-0 win over county opponent Liberty.
In a wild first quarter, Osceola scored just about every way imaginable – putting points on the board via run, pass, punt return, fumble return, safety and kickoff return to take a 42-0 lead after one period of play. The two rushing TDs in the first 12 minutes came from Roshaun Dudley on runs of 18 and 32 yards.
The Kowboys tacked on touchdown runs in the second and third period by Jamo Jones and Perry Garrett as Osceola emptied its bench and the game was shortened by the mercy rule. Chargers’ quarterback John Smith had 43 yards rushing and 108 yards passing, including a 60-yard hook-up with wide out Josiah Ramjit.
It was Osceola’s 35th consecutive win against county opposition. The Kowboys (1-0) host Cypress Creek (0-2) on Friday; while Liberty (0-1) travels to George Jenkins (1-1).
POINCIANA 27, TENEROC 12
Running back Emarion Hampton rushed for two touchdowns and added a touchdown reception to lead the Poinciana Eagles, 1-0, to a 24-12 road-win over Teneroc in their season opener.
“It was a typical opening game, we started slow and made a few of those opening night mistakes,” Eagle Head Coach Randy Beeken said. “But overall, we settled down and did what we had to do.”
In addition to the big night from Hampton, sophomore quarterback Michael Tovine played well in his first start, throwing for one touchdown and running for a second. Defensively, Cris Pineda was the defensive standout for the Eagles with two fumble recoveries.
The Eagles, 1-0, return to action on Friday with a road game against Polk County power Winter Haven, 1-1.
ST. CLOUD 35, CELEBRATION 7
Patrick Forsythe rushed for 180 yards and returned a punt for a touchdown to lead St. Cloud, 1-0, to a 35-7 win over Celebration in the opener for both clubs.
In addition to Forsythe, Jack Rilling also returned a punt for a touchdown.
“This score is certainly not indicative of how close this game really was,” St. Cloud Head Coach Bryan Smart said. “Obviously the two punt returns were game changers for us and we did a great job of running the ball, but Celebration also did an outstanding job with possession.”
The game was tied 7-7 early in the second before St. Cloud scored two unanswered touchdowns to take a 21-7 lead at the half.
The Bulldogs will attempt to go to 2-0 on the season when they travel to Gateway on Friday. Celebration will attempt to even its record when it hosts Freedom (0-2).
OVIEDO 56, HARMONY 21
Oviedo’s sophomore quarterback Luke Rucker threw seven touchdown passes for the Lions (2-0) in a 56-21 home win vs. Harmony (0-1).
Still, Harmony Head Coach Don Simon said his team performed fairly well in its first game against a quality opponent.
“We played well in spots, fairly typical of a season opener,” Simon said.
He added that sophomore running back Tyler Emmons continues to show promise. As a freshman, he accounted for almost 500 rushing yards in a reserve role and stepped up big-time against the Lions – rushing for 122 yards on just seven carries and scoring three touchdowns, including a 92-yard kickoff return for touchdown to open the game.
“Tyler is going to show a lot of people he is the real deal,” Simon added. “He spent the off-season getting bigger and stronger and to piled up close to 200 all-purpose yards against a pretty stout defensive opponent.”
Simon also lauded the play of outside linebacker Michael Marino, who posted eight solo tackles in the game.
Harmony returns home Friday against Lake Wales, a 36-28 winner over Ridge. Lake Wales is coming off an undefeated regular season and finished 12-1 overall.
“They lost a lot of seniors last year, but they have a really good program and I expect they will present a great challenge.”
OLYMPIA 44, GATEWAY 8
CJ Brook and Cooper Chase combined for five touchdown passes – three to Victor Jones – as Olympia used a big second half to defeat Gateway (0-1), 44-8.
Gateway proved game into the third quarter, as a Jacovi Bryant touchdown run, followed by a Jerry Wright 2-point conversion made it a 24-8 game with 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter. But despite holding Olympia scoreless on their next two possessions, the Panthers could get no closer and Rommarrus Hinson’s second rushing touchdown of the game put the contest away for the Titans.
“We started off slow and then settled down but in the long-run, Olympia just wore us out in the second half,” Gateway Head Coach Marlin Roberts said. “With only six starters back, we’re an extremely young team. The main thing was I was extremely proud of our team’s effort, they fought for the entire game.”
Roberts added that line play and dropped passes were the two areas where his team must improve if they are going to compete with St. Cloud (1-0) on Friday night.
“Coach Smart has a veteran team returning and we simply cannot make the mistakes we made against Olympia. Our quarterback (Jerry Wright) threw the ball really well last week but we had a ton of drops. We also have to improve on giving him some more time in the pocket.”