Poinciana got Randy Beeken his first win as a head coach Friday by playing an incredible game defensively.
The Eagles defense forced seven turnovers, including five interceptions and a fumble they scored on, as they beat the Celebration Storm, 23-10. Beeken, a prior assistant coach, has been at Poinciana for five years but saw his team play “maybe the best defensive game I’ve seen here.”
Poinciana (1-1) hasn’t been in a position to win like that much of late – they won just five games in the past four seasons combined – and looked to be a little shaky after Celebration (1-1) had the ball with about eight minutes left to play after scoring a touchdown to narrow the gap to two scores.
But Andrew Peters, Zayveon Mitchell (his third of the night) and Jerry Lopez all made interceptions in Eagles territory in the fourth quarter to take back the momentum each time the Storm tried to take it back.
“They’re young and probably got a little cocky (when it was 23-2) and we talked about it at halftime,” Beeken said.
Poinciana took a 9-0 first-quarter lead thanks to the defense – Quaylen Hill scooped up a fumble and took it 68 yards, then Guy Bond ended Celebration’s next drive with a tackle in the end zone for a safety.
After the Storm matched the safety, the Eagles extended the lead to 23-3 in the second quarter on Justin Carpenter’s 31-yard pass to Ligarrius Coachman and a 15-yard run by Jalen Jarrett.
Celebration cut it to 23-10 on Will Bohn’s 32-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Gonzalez, and Storm defense held Carpenter (9-for-25, 94 yards) to 2-of-12 passing in the second half and kept getting the ball back for the offense.
“We prepared for this; a wet field on our back practice area, wet balls drills,” CHS Coach Jay Sobke said. “You’ve got to be ready for that, but you’re going to make it impossible for yourself if you turn it over seven times.”
Poinciana will play at Tohopekaliga next week (the game was scheduled at Poinciana but field conditions prompted the change). Celebration is off next week and will prepare for a district game against Osceola.
Speaking of the Tigers, the county’s other first-year head coach got his first win. Tohopekaliga rallied to beat Dixie Hollins 38-18 for its first win, and the first for head coach Marc Deas, who shared the team’s gatorade cooler with Positively Osceola’s own Keith Ronan when the team celebrated by soaking their new head coach.
“They fought, we had some adversity, but this game’s about battling and sticking together,” Deas said.
After a solid starting debut last week, sophomore quarterback Tyler Wesley ran the offense well again, scoring on a short, leaping over 2 defenders TD run and distributing to De’Mario Tolan and Blake McCullough, who also scored big for the Tigers. The Rebels looked as if they were stealing the momentum away from the Tigers at the end of the first half by a big passing play that ended in a TD and 2-point conversion, but after some rather stout conversations with the coaching staff before leaving the field, the Tigers gained back their focus and came out snarling in the 2nd half.
Osceola continued the brutal opening to its schedule by falling 21-17 to defending Class 8A state champ Miami Columbus. A Devon Wells to DeWayne McGee touchdown pass and Spencer Richards field goal gave the Kowboys (1-1) a 10-7 lead in the first half, but Columbus scored twice before halftime to take a 21-10 lead. Wells found Gabe Liggeri open on a touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, and Osceola blocked a field goal to have the ball with a chance to win at the end, but …
“We played some good football against a good team. We had chances and we didn’t make them,” Coach Doug Nichols said. “We’ll be a pretty good football team, I just don’t know when, but we’re on the climb.”
A game at Cocoa, who played for the Class 4A title last year, is scheduled for next Friday. Hurricane Dorian may affect those plans.
For Harmony, Keaghan Black tossed a pair of first-half touchdown passes, including a 71-yarder to Kenneth Torres, but they weren’t enough in a 32-14 loss to Palm Bay Heritage.
In Oviedo, Hagerty stymied Gateway, 23-0.
On Thursday, St. Cloud beat Golden, Co., 41-7, to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2014. That’s five regular season wins in a row if you take into account the Bulldogs final four games last season.
Liberty had their bye week.