Based on a 27-0 drubbing it absorbed at the hands of Palmetto Ridge Friday night at Panther Stadium, Cypress Lake has a lot of work to do.
The good news for the Panthers? Head coach Dale More believes he has conscientious kids who will come back at Monday’s practice with a mean streak.
“We’re young,” More said. “Out of 22 starters, we have seven sophomores, and we have seven seniors on the entire team. That showed up. For a lot of these guys, this was the first time the lights were that big.
“We’re young, but our youth is our strength. It will pay dividends this season. We’ve got kids who want to get better. They’ll fix the mistakes.”
The Panthers’ JV squad was the highlight of the night, holding the Bears scoreless in a fourth quarter that featured a 10-minute running clock.
But the rest of the game was a beatdown. The Panthers couldn’t get a first down until 9:21 left in the third quarter and finished with just 92 total yards — rushing for 68 yards and completing just six of 18 pass attempts for 24 yards.
And they had no answer for Ron Johnson, the Bears’ bruising senior running back who has offers from Louisville, Georgia Tech and Marshall. He gashed them for 131 yards and two TDs, softening the Cypress Lake defense for the pass-catch combination of Andy Garcia and Tony Lesende, who connected on eight plays for 178 yards.
“He’s a big load,” More said of Johnson. “He’s a big running back and he runs with ferocity. When he has it in his hands, he’s going forward. You aren’t going to arm-tackle him.”
PR: Tony Lesende 37 pass from Andy Garcia (Kyle Griffin kick)
PR: Ron Johnson 5 run (kick failed)
PR: Johnson 12 run (Griffin kick)
PR: Lesende 12 pass from Garcia (Eduardo Velarde kick)