Friday night’s regular-season opener at Durant was a tale of two halves for the home team: one good, one not so good.
The Cougars took a 28-7 loss to Jesuit in their home opener after playing the Tigers to a 7-7 tie in the first half. Kickoff for the game, as with many others in the Tampa Bay area, was postponed nearly an hour due to lightning.
Though an inadvertent whistle wiped out the Cougars’ turnover recovery on the opening kickoff and the Tigers defense parlayed a bobbled Durant catch into an interception, Jesuit couldn’t get anything going for most of the first quarter. Running back Rick Parks got rolling late in the quarter and led Jesuit on its first extended drive of the game, which ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Larry Hodges with five seconds left in the quarter. The Tigers caught another break early in the second when Durant defensive back Demarcus Governor sprained his ankle and had to miss the rest of the game, but again ran into problems against the Durant defense.
The Cougars scored their only touchdown of the night with 4:06 left in the half, when running back David Haynes broke off several defenders and kicked into second gear to score on a 64-yard run. The teams traded drives back and forth to no avail, heading into the locker room locked at 7-7.
Durant received the ball in the second half and got to its own 40 yard line, but Jesuit forced a punt, drove to Durant’s 15 and scored with Enzo Tedesco’s pass to Jonathan Odom at the 8:55 mark. Less than one minute later, Durant lost a fumble in its own territory and the Tigers scored with another quick drive. In the minute and 15 seconds after that, Durant’s attempt to go for it on fourth down was stuffed inside their own 30 and the Tigers cruised into the end zone with a 17-yard pass and three consecutive run plays.
The Tigers nearly made it 35-7 with 38 seconds left in the third quarter, but the scoring play was wiped out by an illegal block in the back.
Durant’s defense got back on track in the fourth quarter, recording several quarterback sacks and forcing (and recovering) a fumble deep in Cougars territory. The Cougars just couldn’t make anything happen on offense and Jesuit was able to control the clock.