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Football holds off Lake Minneola for district win

Quarterback+Sammy+Cordero+evades+Lake+Minneola+tacklers+on+one+of+his+20+carries.+Cordero+scored+twice+in+the+varsity+team%27s+35-28+victory+over+Lake+Minneola.
Quarterback Sammy Cordero evades Lake Minneola tacklers on one of his 20 carries. Cordero scored twice in the varsity team's 35-28 victory over Lake Minneola.

Quarterback Sammy Cordero evades Lake Minneola tacklers on one of his 20 carries. Cordero scored twice in the varsity team's 35-28 victory over Lake Minneola.

photo by Sharon Sheridan

photo by Sharon Sheridan

Quarterback Sammy Cordero evades Lake Minneola tacklers on one of his 20 carries. Cordero scored twice in the varsity team's 35-28 victory over Lake Minneola.

Bryson Turner, Online Editor

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The varsity football team began district play Friday night with a close road victory, 35-28, against Lake Minneola.

Quarterback Sammy Cordero again led the team in rushing, getting 139 yards on 20 carries and scoring twice, while also completing three of eight passes for 101 yards. Wingback D.J. McCunney scored once in the fourth quarter to give the team the one-touchdown margin of victory while rushing for 46 yards on seven carries.

Tailback Jordan Gilbert reached the end zone twice while rushing for 113 yards on 19 carries. They were his first two touchdowns of the season.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m the one scoring or not,” Gilbert said. “I just want to help out the team as much as I can.”

It was a back and forth game for the team. Lake Minneola shut out Hagerty in the first quarter, 13-0. In the second quarter, however, the team turned momentum in their favor. After Cordero scored his first touchdown of the night, a three-yard rush, Lake Minneola quarterback Devon Cole appeared to connect with wide receiver Jacob Johnson for a 60-yard touchdown pass. However, the score was nullified due to an offensive pass interference penalty. On the next play, Cole was picked off by defensive back Ian Watts, and Gilbert would go on to score on the next drive to put the team ahead, 14-13, early in the second quarter. The matchup went to the half deadlocked, 21-21.

The second half was more defensive-oriented. After each team scored once in the third quarter, the game was decided in the fourth quarter. McCunney’s five-yard touchdown rush put Hagerty ahead, 35-28, but there was still 6:46 left in the game. Lake Minneola had two more opportunities on offense before the clock ran out. However, both drives were halted by turnovers: a fumble with 5:44 remaining, and an interception with 53.4 seconds remaining, which sealed the game. Both turnovers were credited to junior defensive back Colby Fialkoff, and both were his first of each of the season.

“I was struggling in the beginning,” Fialkoff said. “It felt great to redeem myself.”

This gives the team its first district victory of the season, and head coach Phil Ziglar cites the team’s fourth quarter play as a deciding factor.

“Both games that we have lost, we have not been able to finish,” Ziglar said. “[This game] we controlled the fourth quarter…and I said when you do that, you’re going to win and that proved right.”

Next week, the team goes on the road again for a district matchup with West Port.

BOX SCORE:

PASSING RUSHING
PLAYER C/ATT YARDS TD INT PLAYERS CARRIES YARDS TD
Sammy Cordero 3/8 101 0 1 Sammy Cordero 20 139 2
Jordan Gilbert 19 113 2
RECEIVING D.J. McCunney 7 46 1
PLAYER RECEPTIONS YARDS TD Ethan Lopez 5 32 0
Gabe Boyle 2 94 0 Gabe Boyle 1 3 0
D.J. McCunney 1 7 0 Trenton Redding 1 2 0
TOTALS 3 101 0 TOTALS 53 335 5

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Football holds off Lake Minneola for district win