By: J. Daniel Pearson
For Positively Osceola
As time ran down, emotions started pouring from the Poinciana sidelines as the Eagles ended 14 years of futility and frustration in a 56-0 win over Liberty in the annual Battle of the Boulevard.
“It feels great to get the collective monkey off the backs of our players, coaches, students and school,” Poinciana coach Randy Beeken said of his team’s first win in the series. “In some ways, I wish that first win would have been a little more competitive of the game, but as an assistant and head coach I was on the losing side eight straight times and a lot of them were by lopsided scores so I am not apologizing for anything and giving anything back.”
It was Bradley, a senior transfer from North Carolina, who played a key role in leading the Eagles to their first win. He threw for four touchdowns and ran for another in the game. “De’Kwan has just been fantastic for us all year,” Beeken added. “But we also had some players who had transferred out of our program and came back this year and they also played a huge part in this win and our season.”
Those players included Perry Garrett, who caught four passes for 104 yards and rushed for 72 yards and Donald Cummings who caught two passes for 44 yards and a score. Seniors Dev’rell Cohn and Michael Centano had big games with 54 yards and two rushing touchdowns for Kohn and two receiving touchdowns for Centano.
It was all the Eagles from the opening kickoff.
Poinciana needed just two plays to take an 8-0 lead in the game. After recovering an on-sides kick, Garrett broke loose on a 32-yard run and Cohn covered the final 13 yards with a scoring run. Bradley would up the lead to 14-0 on Poinciana’s next possession with a 30-yard scoring strike to Cummings and the Eagles would be off and flying when Cohn’s 20-yard touchdown run on the final play of the first quarter made it 20-0.
A 14-yard connection from Bradley to Garrett and a 5-yard pass from Bradley to Ernest Nunn extended the lead to 34-0 at halftime and the Eagles would trigger a running clock in the third quarter after recovering an on-sides kick to open the second half and seven plays later on a Bradley to Centano pass of 12 yards to extend the lead to 42-0.
The Eagles tacked on two more touchdowns, as Centano caught a 50-yard bomb and Bradley ran one over from the two for the 56-0 final.
It was a game of firsts for the Eagles. The 56 points was the most ever scored by Poinciana in the series and the 56-point differential was the largest margin of victory in the series. But more importantly for Beeken and the Eagles, it gave them their first victory in the series and gave them a school record eighth win on the season.
Earlier in the week, the team locked up just their second winning season in the school’s 31-year history with a 49-14 win over Hardee.
“I can’t explain how happy I am right now,” senior linebacker Luis Sorto said. “In my first three years they beat us up pretty bad and now I can say I was part of the first Poinciana team to beat them. It’s something I will remember forever.”
Although the Eagles’ independent status will not allow them to qualify for the playoffs, there is still some football ahead for Poinciana. Earlier in the week, Beeken announced the Eagles (8-2) would host St. Cloud (6-4) in a Bowl Game on Wednesday at 6 p.m. “They are a talented team and will present a great challenge to us,” Beeken said. “But it will also be another opportunity for us to add two more firsts to the season – namely a ninth win and our first win ever over St. Cloud.”