By Dan Pearson for Positively Osceola

After Wednesday night’s dominating 45-6 win over Lake Region in the Prescriptions Unlimited Bowl, it’s easy to see why head coach Mike Short was excited about St. Cloud’s 2023 season and what lies ahead for his team.

“We wanted to come out tonight and put on a dominating performance,” Short said as the Bulldogs finally got a home game on its brand new $2.4 million turf.  “We wanted to run the table after our last loss and we did that.  We led the county in wins, finished with six straight victories, recorded four shutouts, had a win over our arch-rivals (Harmony), and now we have a bowl win.  Our kids did a phenomenal job this year.”

In reaching eight wins for the first time since 2009 — while outscoring opponents 224-24 during the six-game winning streak – Short also said he was extremely excited about the future.  “We lose nine seniors, some which were impact players for us.  But we return 17 full or part time starters and we are going to have a lot of momentum heading into the spring.”

Wednesday’s game was never close.  Logan King needed just one play and 15 seconds, to put St. Cloud up 8-0 on a 62-yard touchdown pass to Alex Springs.  Three minutes later it was 15-0 as TJ Griffin broke off a 52-yard touchdown run.

The lead would grow to 28-0 in the first quarter, as Springs caught his second touchdown of the game and King later capped a five-play drive with 44 seconds left when he completed a behind-the-back 4-yard pass to Owen Conner on fourth down.

A 25-yard field goal by Adrian Gonzalez and King’s fourth touchdown pass of the half capped a 10-0 second quarter.  Conner’s second touchdown reception of the half pushed the lead out to 38-0 and forced a running clock for the remainder of the game.

With only two possessions in the second half, King capped the scoring with a fifth touchdown pass to freshman reserve Owen Sullivan.  He later would have a sixth TD pass to Springs called back on a penalty.  For the game, King was nine of 17 for 188 yards.  St. Cloud averaged 10 yards per play, scoring six touchdowns and a field goal on just 29 offensive plays.

While the offense was dominating, the St. Cloud defense was equally impressive. 

Jacob Hernandez, Jian Walls and Stacy Taylor all intercepted passes for the Bulldogs.  The defense  recovered a fumble, came up with three fourth down stops and held Lake Region to just 161 yards of total offense – with 81 of those yards coming against the reserves in the fourth quarter.

Jonathan Morales, St. Cloud’s diminutive running back said the game was a perfect ending to his career.  “As a senior we finally got to play a true home game.  To play it on this beautiful field and go out with a win made the wait worth it,” Morales said after St. Cloud was forced to split their first five home games between Austin Tindall Park and Hickory Tree Field.

Scoring Summary

  • SC:  Alex Springs 62 pass from Logan King (King Run), 8-0
  • SC:  TJ Griffin 52 run (Adrian Gonzalez kick), 15-0
  • SC:  Springs 32 pass from King (Pass Failed), 21-0
    SC:  Owen Conner 4 pass from King (Gonzalez kick), 28-0
  • SC:  Gonzalez 25-FG, 31-0
  • SC:  Conner 22 pass from King (Gonzalez kick),38-0
  • SC:  Owen Sullivan 12 pass from King (Daniel Elozondo kick), 45-0
  • LR:  Kalvin Johnson 5 run (Pass Failed), 45-6