BRADENTON -- The homecoming tradition states the home team usually schedules an opponent it feels it can overmatch.
With a roster of only freshmen and sophomores, Imagine School of North Port seemed to fit the bill Friday for Bradenton Christian.
However, sophomore do-it-all quarterback Anthony Stevens showed a natural ability to glide by defenders, frequently using a debilitating stiff arm as the Sharks scored a 40-38 win.
Stevens ripped off touchdown runs of 70, 60, 50, and 30 yards, large chunks of of his 285-yard peformance.
Even when he decided to let his teammates get in on the action, Stevens was there to assist them, throwing a game-winning touchdown pass to Elijah Mack with 1:30 left in the remaining.
Stevens threw for 103 yards.
As dominant as Stevens was, BCS (3-3) led the entire game up until the final touchdown. The Panthers were able to effectively execute the option and shovel pass effectively and controlled the clock by gaining small, consistent chunks of yardage under the watch of quarterback Joey Giardina.
Giardina gained 106 yards on the ground with a touchdown while his brother John took some of the load, rushing for 78 yards on 16 attempts.
Joey gave the Panthers fans something to cheer about with a touchdown run three minutes into the game, then threw a 30-yard touchdown to Graham Courter with three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
BCS added a 33-yard field goal by Garrett Moshier to establish a comfortable 17-point lead before the half.
The Sharks (2-2) were determined not to play like a typical homecoming opponent in the second half, however, coming out of the locker room with a chip on their shoulder as Stevens cut up the left sideline untouched for 70 yards on the Sharks' first offensive play of the second half.
Stevens added a 50-yard touchdown run to cut the Sharks' deficit to 24-20.
BCS added touchdown runs by John Giardina and Lance Perkins, but this was not the last of Stevens and the Sharks.
Stevens cut through the heart of the BCS defense, throwing stiff arms and breaking countless tackles on the way to a 30-yard touchdown run, but with little time remaining it appeared too little, too late.
But John Giardina fumbled the ensuing kickoff, however, and Stevens made them pay with a 5- yard touchdown pass to Stanley Thomas to bring the Sharks within 38-34.
The Sharks delivered one of the few defensive stands of the night, forcing the Panthers to punt with less than five minutes left.
Stevens delivered the knockout blow, tossing the ball effortlessly over Mack's right shoulder for a touchdown and the Sharks' first lead of the night.
The Panthers responded with a final drive, but Moshier missed a 44-yard field-goal attempt with 30 seconds remaining.