Osceola’s front four created havoc on the Tigers all night — limiting them to 120 yards of total offense– as the Kowboys (6-3, 3-0) ransacked Tohopekaliga, 62-7, claim the Suburban 4, District 11 championship on Friday night.
The win sends the Kowboys into next week’s season finale against a talented West Orange (5-3) team, who defeated Olympia on Friday and has a district make-up game with Ocoee on Monday night before facing Osceola. The Warriors finished the season 11-2 year, making it to the regional finals. Playing in the same district as Osceola, they defeated the Kowboys in the regular season 35-21 and then again in the regional semifinals, 16-7. Both games were at West Orange. It is one of seven 2021 playoff teams the Kowboys scheduled this season.
But Osceola coach Eric Pinellas does not view the game as a revenge opportunity. “We always look ahead, not backwards,” Pinellas said. “Last year’s games mean nothing to us this season. They are a very good team and a great program but they are in the Metro Division and we will not see them in the post-season. What this game represents for the for Osceola is a chance to get another quality win against a great opponent. This game could have huge implications on our playoff seeding, so that is why it is important to us.”
As for the Tohopekaliga game, things started off poorly for the Tigers and got a lot worse quickly. On the third play from scrimmage, cornerback Delvin Pryor would pick off freshman Sabby Meassick and return it to Tiger 18. Three plays later, Taevion Swint carried it in from the 9-yard line and Osceola led, 7-0.
It was just one of three interceptions the Kowboys would record on the night, as Bo Mascoe (52 yards) and Jayden Bradford (26 yards) added pick-sixes in the first half against Meassick. The Tiger freshman quarterback was harassed all night by the Osceola front four. He finished the game 11 of 31 for 126 yards and one score. He was picked off three times, sacked twice, had three passes knocked down at the line and chased out of the pocket all night by the Osceola defense. “Our front four is pretty good and getting pressure on the opposing quarterback is the key. He (Meassick) really did not have much time to throw the ball tonight,” Pinellas said.
While defense and special teams were doing its job, the Osceola offense was chugging along.
Swint finished the game with 140 yards rushing and four touchdowns on just 12 carries. Freshman running back Jeff Sinophat scored on a 21-yard run and TJ Massey caught a 52-yard scoring strike. Osceola gained more than 12 yards per play on the night, gaining 347 yards of total offense on just 27 plays from scrimmage.
“Our goal coming into the game was simple. We wanted to play four quarters of solid football, avoid turnovers and control both lines of scrimmage,” Pinellas said. “I think we accomplished that. We will enjoy this win tonight and then start getting ready for West Orange tomorrow morning.”
For the season, Swint, just a sophomore, now has 1500 all-purpose yards with 1078 rushing yards and he has now scored 18 touchdowns on the season. “He’s a great player and a really funny kid,” Pinellas said. “Someone asked him about his style and he said, I don’t have one, I just get the ball and go.” In 20 career games, Swint has more than 2700 all-purpose yards and has scored 27 touchdowns.
Tohopekaliga (5-4, 1-2) also has one more game remaining and can finish its first season under coach Anthony Paradiso with a winning record when they host Haines City (4-3) on Friday night.