LECANTO - The first half they resembled a slow cooker but once they heated up, the Weeki Wachee Hornets feasted on opportunities in a 16-15 preseason win Friday at Lecanto.
The Hornets could only muster one first down the entire first half yet trailed just 3-0 entering the locker room, helped by Panther penalties.
Just two minutes into the second half, running back Jon King found a right-side hole on a counter play, breaking through the secondary for a 64-yard touchdown.
The teams swapped scoring drives for a 15-10 Lecanto lead to start the final quarter.
With the upperclassmen watching from the sidelines, the Hornet JV squad put a 12-play drive together, capped off by fullback Nick Lukawski's 3-yard touchdown run on a right-side pitch with 4:40 remaining.
Weeki Wachee head coach Mark Lee said while his team did not initially take advantage of opportunities to score, it did better with blocking assignments in the second half, including on King's run.
"Defense did an outstanding job, especially big improvement from the spring game when we gave up 49 points," he added.
The Panthers' defense kept steady pressure on quarterback David Tinch all night, sacking him twice and forcing several hurried throws. Twice, Finch had open receivers but put too much on the ball and the passes went over the receivers' heads.
Sparked by King's run, the Hornets started to swarm, and regrouped after giving up a 38-yard touchdown run by fullback Ardante "DeDe" Anderson a few minutes after King's score. Tinch also converted a 31-yard field goal later in the quarter for a 10-9 lead.
Weeki Wachee regrouped again after Lecanto's Jonah Nightengale ran up the middle for an 8-yard touchdown with 4:08 left in the third quarter. A Weeki Wachee interception and several defensive stops ended a rally threat by Lecanto late.
The Hornets played without junior quarterback/wide receiver Marcus Allen, due to a coach's decision. They'll start the regular season next Friday at Interlachen.