POINCIANA - For the Central Bears, Friday night's game against the host Poinciana Eagles was supposed to be another step in the right direction.
Instead, the offense took a massive step back as the Bears lost their third straight game, 22-8.
"We've got to control what we can control," Central head coach Mike Einsphar said. "Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. That's the game right there."
The Bears' (0-3) offense coughed it up five times behind quarterback Cole Teater's three interceptions and a fumbled handoff between him and running back Robbie Bradley.
Overall Central fumbled five times but recovered three of them.
"We have to watch the film and evaluate every player on the field," Einsphar said. "At this point, nobody is safe from anything."
While reiterating that nobody was safe, Einsphar refused to single out any player stating as a team the Bears didn't take care of the ball.
The scoring got underway instantly when Poinciana (2-1) quarterback Jonathan Lindstrom hit Joshua Lopez on a 70-yard pass play. Lindstrom then kept the ball and rushed in the 2-point conversion, putting Central in an early hole.
To make matters worse, Teater threw a ball into the chest of Eagles defensive back Darian Dickson, who ran 70 yards untouched to pay dirt giving Poinciana a comfortable 16-0 lead.
Bradley, who led the Bears with 20 carries for 90 yards, would help them fight back rattling off a 35-yard run before he scampered in on the next play for a 10-yard touchdown.
With two minutes left the Bears allowed the Eagles to gain their initial first down of the game, one of only two allowed all night.
The Central defense was stingy all night long, led by Chris Hernandez who was all over the field causing havoc.
The Bears' defense held the Eagles to only 25 rushing yards on 28 attempts and forced five fumbles while recovering two of them.
After a 20-minute power outage in the fourth quarter, the Bears had the ball down 16-8 with 3:01 left to play but failed to pick up a first down.
The Eagles would take over allowing Lindstrom, who finished 7-for-16 for 176, to hit Lopez again for his second score of the game, putting the game out of reach.
"Defensively and special teams we played really well," Einsphar said. "We need to put a whole game together."
Next for Central awaits Nature Coast in an inter-county matchup. The Sharks lost to Springstead 24-7 on Friday to fall to 0-2 on the season.
Poinciana 22, Central 8
Qtr. Scoring 1 2 3 4
CEN 0 8 0 0 - 8
PON 16 0 0 6 - 22
PON - Lopez 70 pass from Lindstrom (Lindstrom run)
PON - Dickson 70 interception return (Brown pass from Lindstrom)
CEN - Bradley 10 run (Smith run)
PON - Lopez 16 pass from Lindstrom (2-point attempt failed)
First Downs 10 2
Att/Rush Yds 40-167 28-25
Passing Yds 16 176
Total Offense 53-83 44-201
Return Yards 15 35
Punts/ Avg. 2-37.5 3-38.3
Fumbles/Lost 5-2 5-1
Penalties/Yards 2-10 10-80