WEEKI WACHEE - In a game that was anything other than easy, the Weeki Wachee Hornets raced out to a 28-6 lead over the visiting Orlando-Colonial Grenadiers before holding on for a slim 31-28 win.
"Wow," Hornets skipper Mark Lee said. "Win or survival, either way, what a game. Proud of our guys for fighting."
Weeki Wachee (3-5) scored early and often, paced by "Mr. Everything" Marcus Allen, and took that 28-6 lead into the locker room at the half. If the second half was anything like the first, the rout was on.
The scoring started when Allen got knocked out of the game on the opening drive, on what appeared to be the first of several late hits that went uncalled by the officials. He would return three plays later and scampered in for a 12-yard score.
The Hornet defense would step in from there and start its assault when Colonial had first-and-goal from the Weeki Wachee 9-yard line. On an attempted option Marcus Applefield stormed into the backfield and blew up the play causing a fumble.
On the night Colonial (2-5) would cough it up six times, four via fumble and two intercepted passes by quarterback John Riccard.
"Our defense bent but didn't break," Lee said. "That first half we won the turnover battle and that was huge for us."
Allen would tack on touchdown runs of 1 and 20 yards, and a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jon King, as he paced the Hornets' offense with 17 carries for 95 yards and three scores. He also threw for one score while completing 7-of-14 passes for 58 yards and no interceptions.
The second half would see Colonial mount a furious comeback to close the gap to 28-22. Facing the choice of letting kicker David Tinch attempt a 41-yard field goal or punt it back to the Grenadiers, Coach Lee chose the former.
"He's kicked it from 55 yards out in practice," Lee said. "We let him have it and it looks like that kick might have been good from 55, as well."
The result was the game-winning kick, as the Grenadiers would score again on a Tony Pitt 4-yard run to close the gap to three.
Pitt led the Colonial ground game with 15 carries for 174 yards and three scores of his own.
Instead of an onside kick, the Grenadiers kicked it deep, but on third-and 8 Allen ran for 40 yards and a first down, allowing the Hornets to run out the clock and secure the homecoming victory.
While the win was good for Weeki Wachee, Lee reminded his team that next week is a date with ninth-ranked and new district champion South Sumter.
"We've got a lot of film to watch on them," Lee said. "We will come out ready to play."
Weeki Wachee 31, Orlando-Colonial 28
Qtr. Scoring 1 2 3 4
CHS 0 6 16 6 - 28
WWHS 7 21 0 3 - 31
WWHS - Allen 12 run (D. Tinch kick)
WWHS - Allen 1 run (D. Tinch kick)
WWHS - King 5 pass from Allen (D. Tinch kick)
CHS - Pitt 55 run (Murillo kick no good)
WWHS - Allen 20 run (D. Tinch kick)
CHS - Witt 2 run (Pitt run)
CHS - Pitt 45 run (2-pt. failed)
WWHS - D. Tinch 41 field goal
CHS - Pitt 4 run (2-pt. failed)
First Downs 18 14
Att/Rush Yds 39-290 49-201
Att/Comp/Int 13-16-2 7-14-1
Passing Yds 144 58
Total Offense 55-434 63-259
Return Yards 70 22
Punts/Avg. 2-52.5 8-40
Fumbles/Lost 5-4 1-1
Penalties/Yards 9-56 9-80