Facing the reigning Big Bend player of the year isn’t necessarily the most ideal way to open a season.
But first-year Leon flag football coach Ricky Hufty’s team made the most of its chances at stopping FAMU DRS quarterback Raygene Garner on Friday night.
The Lions scored on their opening drove of the game, then rode their defense the rest of the way, picking up a 13-0 victory over the Rattlers.
“Raygene is an incredible player and one of the best in the entire state, and we have an incredible amount of respect for her,” Hufty said. “We have to prepare for her. There’s only so many in the state you have to prepare for like that. Very proud of our girls and what they did. They did everything we asked them to all week, especially leading into spring break, which is always an external fight.”
Leon quarterback Sierra Robinson started her team’s first drive with a 16-yard completion to Katie Huettel, then Robinson ran down the field on multiple plays, setting up her own 5-yard TD keeper.
The early 6-0 lead would be all the scoring until the 1:07 mark of the fourth quarter. Along the way, Robinson stopped a FAMU DRS drive with a diving interception of Garner at the goal line. And linebacker Sam Skrob, who led the county in flag pulls last year, pulled seven for Leon (1-0) and held Garner in check up the middle.
Leon also got a 22-yard interception return for a score by Huettel, and a subsequent extra-point conversion pass from Robinson to Huettel handed a loss to the Rattlers (1-1), who beat Lincoln 12-0 in its opener.
“We have to work on catching the ball, because we had too many drops today,” FAMU DRS coach James Brown said. “We know Raygene can do things, but people have got to help her out. That’s why it’s a team, and you have to have a team effort.
“But that takes nothing away from Leon, because they played a great game tonight. They capitalized on everything we didn’t. It’s the second game and there were growing pains, but we’ll get it together.”
Garner picked off a pass during the game and finished with just over 100 yards of offense, but FAMU DRS also punted four times and turned the ball over on downs three times.
“To start off the season with a district win like this over a state quarterfinalist from last year, it doesn’t get much better than that,” Hufty said.