The Cougars hope to start their first winning streak of 2019 on Friday night.
It’s been a little while since the Durant Cougars were in the middle of a winning streak.
Coincidentally, it’s been exactly one year and two days since Durant beat Lennard, 31-21, to turn a two-game win streak into a three-gamer. The Cougars are now about to get a chance to start another streak against the same opponent.
Durant picked up a much-needed win at Kathleen last week, ending up with a 30-22 final after holding a 16-0 lead at halftime and trading score after score with the Red Devils in the fourth quarter. The Cougars ran for 290 yards and the defense, led by Josh Cannon’s 12 tackles (nine solo, three assisted), forced three fumbles and blocked a field goal attempt. Just like that, a two-game cold snap ended and Durant built up some momentum.
Much like last year’s meeting between the teams, the Cougars can expect Lennard’s offense to go as running back Tino Hunt goes. Hunt, one of the most productive backs in the Tampa Bay area, has 763 yards and seven touchdowns through five games. Last week, facing the Riverview (Sarasota) Rams, Hunt picked up 246 yards and three touchdowns on the ground as the Longhorns ran for 342 total yards but lost, 41-29, at home. Complementing Hunt is junior Quay Smith, who finished the game with 93 yards and one score. Smith doesn’t have nearly as many total rushing yards and touches (369 yards on 44 carries) as Hunt (763 yards on 91 carries), but both average 8.4 yards gained per touch and have found the end zone seven times. Sophomore quarterback Gavin Henley is throwing for roughly 71 yards per game and has three interceptions against two touchdown passes on the season. Lennard’s offensive line is nothing to scoff at, but if outside linebacker Bradley Guasto’s strong season keeps going, opportunities for the rest of the Cougars’ front seven to get more pressure on Henley or better find the gaps Hunt and Smith have eyes on will open up.
Lennard goes into the game with a 3-2 record but the triple option, Durant’s bread and butter, hasn’t been particularly kind to this year’s Longhorns team. Lennard’s current two-game losing streak started with its Sept. 13 loss at Newsome in which the Wolves attempted only one pass, but ran the ball 42 times for 362 yards and four touchdowns. No Durant running backs have lit up the stat sheets quite like Newsome’s Jason Albritton has this season but, when this Cougars offense gets rolling, it doesn’t really need one player to have a monster game in order for the team to control the tempo of a game as it sees fit.
OTHER AREA ACTION
vs. Armwood, 7:30 p.m.
Last week, Plant City nearly spoiled Bloomingdale’s homecoming night but fell in overtime, 37-34. That game was a pure shootout in which the Raiders’ big-play ability on all sides of the ball came through, but a blocked field goal attempt on the final drive of overtime was what set the Bulls apart on that evening.
Despite the loss, the fact that the offense is on its best stretch of the season is a good sign heading into Friday’s home game against Armwood. The Hawks (4-1) are riding a three-game winning streak in which they’ve outscored opponents, 117-24, and most recently handed Wiregrass Ranch a 48-3 defeat in Seffner. Armwood’s offense didn’t do anything too crazy, save for ex-Raider Eric Wilson scoring three rushing touchdowns, but Aamaris Brown scored on two pick sixes and recovered a fumble on defense.
at Wharton, 7:30 p.m.
Last week, Crest visited Lakeland and suffered a 59-0 loss at the hands of the Dreadnaughts. Lakeland scored 39 points in the first quarter and put up all of its scoring in just 24 plays through four quarters.
The Chargers don’t have as stiff a test this week at Wharton, but the 4-2 Wildcats are coming off of a 22-15 win at King in which they staved off a potential fourth-quarter rally by the Lions. Though they haven’t logged any offensive stats with MaxPreps.com this season, Wharton’s attack has been either hot or cold with no middle ground: the Wildcats average 32.5 points per game in their wins and averaged 3.5 points per game in losses at Lennard and Palm Harbor University.