Dan PearsonBy:  J Daniel Pearson
For Positively Osceola

Osceola’s football team dominated on all three phases of the game on Friday night, evening their season record at 1-1 with an impressive 69-0 win over Tohopekaliga. The entire second half was played with a running clock because of FHSAA mercy rules.

“We knew going in we had a personnel advantage,” Osceola Head Coach Eric Pinellas said. “I thought we accomplished what we wanted to, including getting our younger players some reps.”

Although the team racked up 69 points, Pinellas felt his defense was the story on the night. “We’re pretty good up front and at linebacker and when those guys play well and put on the pressure, they create a lot of opportunities for turnovers.”

The defense was formidable.

Osceola limited Toho to less than 40 yards of total offense, forcing five turnovers, blocking a punt and scoring two defensive touchdowns. Those scores came on a Ja’Keem Jackson 42-yard interception return and an 11-yard fumble recovery by back-up defensive tackle Maleek Blanton. The Eagles never managed to get past their own 40 yard line and managed just 26 yards rushing on 25 carries.

Special teams played a role as Osceola had excellent kick coverage all night, with the Eagles having an average starting position of their 13-yard line.

But the Kowboys offense was not too shabby either, scoring touchdowns on eight of third first nine offensive possessions. The only time the offense did not score on the night was on their fourth possession (fumble) and last possession (ran out clock).

The offensive onslaught came from different contributors. Chad Mascoe completed both is passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns and scored a six-yard touchdown run in just under two quarters of play. Pinellas wanted to see more of freshman Taevion Swint and he responded with 77 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just five carries. His scores included a 43-yard touchdown run.

Older brother Ja’Randy Swint also had a big night in limited play, gaining 54 yards and scoring a touchdown. Isaiah Jean-Baptiste and Jackson hauled in touchdown passes covering 34 and 15 yards respectively. In all, the Osceola offense gained 277 yards on just 22 offensive plays – an average of 12.6 yards a play.

“It feels good to get the first one out of the way,” a smiling Pinellas said of his first win as Kowboys head coach. “Last week we had a real shot to win and we let it slip away with second-half turnovers. We pretty much cleaned those issues up tonight but we will get back to work on Monday and get ready for the next one.”

Osceola returns to action Friday, when they travel to Olympia to face the 1-1 Titans. “I don’t know a lot about them, but I do know they are well coached,” Pinellas said. “It should be a good test for us.” Tohopekaliga (1-2) will travel to Oak Ridge (0-2).

Scoring Summary
O: Taevion Swint 4-run (Kick failed) 9:40
O: Chad Mascoe 6 run (Izaiah Jean=Baptiste run) 6:32
O: Ja’Keem Jackson 15 pass from Mascoe (Kick failed) 2:39
O: Ja’Randy Swint 7 run (Mascoe run) 10:25
O: Taevon Swint 43 run (Pass Failed) 8:24
O: Jean-Baptiste 34 pass from Mascoe (Alejandro Guiterrez kick) 6:38
O: Gunner Holland Run (Holland run) 2:03
O: Cornelius Walls 42 run (Guiterrez kick) 4:56
O: Ja’Keem Jackson 41 Interception Return (Guiterrez kick) 0:23
O: Maleek Blanton 11 fumble return (kick failed) 8:53