In a mismatch from the start, five Venice High School players scored as the Indians dismantled Lakewood Ranch, 62-0, in a Class 7A-District 11 football game Friday night on the Mustangs’ field.
Lakewood Ranch head coach Mick Koczersut said he hoped for a closer game because his team worked hard in practice this week.
“Obviously, Venice is a very good football team. We had a couple of interceptions in the first half, but ultimately we still didn’t get things done. They had some pretty easy plays that they made happen or we screwed up.”
Venice (7-0, 4-0) scored seven touchdowns in the first half to lead 48-0; four by running back Matt Laroche, two by running back Cort Doss and one by quarterback Bryce Carpenter.
Laroche rushed for 269 yards on 17 carries, all in the first half. Doss rushed seven times for 41 yards in the first half.
Venice led 27-0 after one quarter. The Indians scored their first touchdown on a 1-yard run by Laroche with 10 minutes remaining. Zack Sessa’s kick made it 7-0.
The Indians then scored on their second possession. Laroche capped a two-play, 65-yard drive with a 56-yard run. Sessa’s kick made it 14-0 with 7:38 left.
After the Mustangs punted, Venice capped a 60-yard drive with a 7-yard scoring run by Doss. Lakewood Ranch’s Michael Mellquist blocked Sessa’s ensuing kick as the Indians led 20-0 with 3:23 left.
A 48-yard punt by Lakewood Ranch’s Tyler Puhalovich pinned the Indians on their 4, but Laroche scored on a 96-yard run. Sessa’s kick made it 27-0 with 18 seconds left.
The Indians scored 21 points in the second quarter: Carpenter on a 9-yard run with 9:08 remaining; Laroche on a 2-yard run at 5:55; and Doss on a 1-yard run with 4:34 left.
Lakewood Ranch (0-7, 0-4) had 145 yards of offense. The Mustangs failed to capitalize on an interception by Noah Ben-Guzzi in the first quarter, punting four plays later.
The second half began with a running clock. Venice scored on the first play of the second half as Tanner Ayette recovered a fumble on the kickoff and returned the ball 20 yards, giving the Indians a 55-0 lead. Mike Trapani scored on a 4-yard run for Venice in the fourth quarter.
Venice defensive back Noah Carr had three interceptions.
Lakewood Ranch came into the game averaging 3 points per game in district play, versus 49 per district game for the Indians.
“We came out and played hard,” Venice head coach John Peacock said. “Obviously, Lakewood Ranch is a little down. We did what we were supposed to do.”
Of Laroche, Peacock said, “He’s special. He plays hard and the offensive line is getting better each week. He’s getting holes to run through. He works hard in the classroom, works hard in the weightroom and works hard out here.”
Koczersut added that he is “really excited about the raise the (Manatee County) School Board gave me and the $3,000 I get to pay for my insurance now.”
Venice 62, Lakewood Ranch 0
V – Matt Laroche 1 run (Zack Sessa kick) 10:00
V – Laroche 56 run (Sessa kick) 7:38
V – Court Doss 7 run (kick blocked) 3:28
V – Laroche 96 run (Sessa kick) :18
V – Bryce Carpenter 9 run (Sessa kick) 9:08
V – Laroche 2 run (Sessa kick) 5:55
V – Doss 1 run (Sessa kick) 4:34
V – Tanner Ayette 20 fumble return (Sessa kick) 11:45
V – Mike Trapani 4 run (Sessa kick) 6:30
Rushing: Venice: Matt Laroche 17-269, Court Doss 7-41, Trevor Hodges 5-36, Mike Trapani 6-30. Bryce Carpenter 1-9. Lakewood Ranch: Mason Fischer 19-45, Justin Curtis 7-36, Chase Sharp 6-29.
Passing: Venice: Bryce Carpenter 9-19-1 139. Lakewood Ranch: Justin Curtis 2-15-4 35.
Receiving: Venice: Aaron Hackett 4-51, Jaivon Heiligh 2-44, Justin Holloway 1-27, Casey Milliken 1-12, Doss 1-5. Lakewood Ranch: Nick Hoskinson 1-28, Fischer 1-7.