Michael Key caught 10 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns and Luke Rucker hit Marvin Brown on a two-point conversion in overtime, as Seminole High School won its 24th consecutive regular season road game with a 28-27 win over Osceola.
Despite giving up more than 450 yards of total offense, the Kowboys led or were tied for all but one minute of the game. But a failure to take full advantage of three turnovers, a blocked extra point, and losing the toss in overtime all played key factors in Osceola’s loss to Seminole – the Orlando Sentinel’s top ranked team in the region.
“Offensively we moved the ball well but our offense faltered a bit when we had a few bad exchanges between the center and quarterback and we dropped a couple of potential touchdown passes,” Osceola coach Eric Pinellas said. “Their offense really didn’t do anything to surprise us, but between not reading the formations correctly, not lining up properly, and some sloppy tackling – they were able to move the ball. Giving up that long touchdown drive right before half really flipped the momentum of the game in their favor, still we had plenty of chances to win this game.”
Osceola would grab a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. After a defensive stop, Taevion Swint would take a sweep and race 60-yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Osceola would extend the lead to 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Jayden Bradford would intercept Rucker and after a near two-hour lightning delay, Gunner Holland would hit Swint on a third-down play for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 3:43 remaining in the second quarter.
But Rucker would need just four plays to get Seminole back in the game. After a gaff in the return game pinned Seminole on its own six, Trey Clark would break off a 17-yard run before Rucker completed three consecutive passes or 7, 44 and 26 yards – the last two going to Key – for a 14-6 deficit at halftime.
After the teams traded possessions to start the third, Rucker would then direct an 86-yard, 9-play drive capped by a Tyrone Williams touchdown from the one to make it a 14-12 game. A 20-yard kickoff return and a 20-yard run by Swint would put Osceola on the Seminole 30, but four plays netted just three yards and the Kowboys would turn the ball over on downs at the 27.
Osceola would then fail to take advantage of a Lacory Walker interception, but would get a second chance to extend their lead when linebacker Jalen Bell – a gunner on the punt team – would jar the ball loose from a Seminole return man which he then recovered on the 27. Swint would break off a 10-yard run before he was brought down by the facemask on a fourth-and-six play. In Florida high school football, however, personal fouls are not automatic first down and because the play occurred inside the 30, the penalty was just half the distance to the goal and resulted in a fourth-and-three play. On the ensuing fourth down, a muddled handoff from Holland to Swint was muffed and although Osceola recovered, they ended up turning the ball over on downs.
Rucker needed just five plays to put Seminole on top. Brown would haul in a 25-yard pass and two plays later he got behind the Kowboys secondary for an easy 60-yard catch and run. Wide receiver Justin Rosado would run in the two-point conversion And Seminole had its only lead of the game at 20-14 with just 1:04 remaining.
Still, Osceola would battle back. Swint would return the ensuing kickoff 25 yards and was again pulled down by the facemask. The 15-yard penalty gave Osceola the ball on the Seminole 39. David Buggs would scramble for 14 yards and after a sack, he lobbed a ball to Ja’Keem Jackson, who hauled it in at the four with 35 seconds left. Swint would break a tackle at the line and then carry three defenders in the end zone for his third touchdown of the game that tied the score at 20-20 with 28 seconds left. But Seminole got pressure from the left side of the line and blocked Devin Calhoun’s potential game-winning extra point to send the game into overtime.
Seminole would then win the toss and elect to go on defense first in overtime. Starting on its own 10, Osceola needed only one play to take a 27-20 lead on Swint’s four touchdown of the game. But Seminole responded, with Rucker hitting Brown on a 10-yard pass to the right corner of the end zone and then tossed the game-winner to Brown on the conversion. “Winning the toss was huge, as it allowed us to control the narrative of overtime,” Seminole coach Eric Lodge said. After we traded touchdowns, we just decided to win or lose the game on the conversion. Fortunately we executed.”
The ending ruined an outstanding performance by Swint, who rushed for 141 yards, caught two passes, scored all four Osceola touchdowns and also had over 100 yards on just four returns. “In my opinion, he’s not only the best sophomore running back in the state, he may be the best in the country,” Pinellas said. Swint has now averaging eight yards a carry (27-221) and has scored all six of Osceola’s touchdowns through two games.
AROUND THE COUNTY
Tohopekaliga’s (1-0) game with Gateway (1-0) was postponed because of unplayable field conditions on Friday night. Poinciana (1-1) played Thursday night and recorded a 50-0 shutout win over Discovery (0-2). Harmony (2-0) grounded out a 36-0 road win over Celebration (0-2), in another game that was delayed several hours by weather. Liberty (0-2) also played on Thursday night at home, but was shutout by Eau Gallie (2-0) by a 55-0 count; while St. Cloud (1-1) evened its record with an impressive road win over Pine Ridge, 47-7.