BRADENTON -- New Lakewood Ranch head football coach Mick Koczersut didn't want to wait a long time to answer the question of what it feels like to get that first victory.
His players didn't either and took advantage of numerous Southeast mistakes to earn a 37-14 victory over the host Seminoles in the regular season opener for both teams Friday night at John Kiker Memorial Stadium.
"I'm glad that's a question I don't have to answer anymore. I am more happy about how our kids played tonight," Koczersut said. "Defensively, we played hard and our kids for the most part knew where they were going. We had a couple of kids who made some big plays."
Chad Rex provided the spark for the Mustangs' offense. The senior quarterback scored two touchdowns and led Ranch with 80 yards on 19 carries. He completed 8 of 17 passes for 101 yards.
"Chad is a lot more comfortable with his decision-making, and from that standpoint he did good things. Execution-wise, we still have to fix some things," Koczersut said. "He has the ability to play better, and now we can figure things out. He made a lot of things happen for us tonight."
For the second straight week, Southeast made several mistakes, including bad snaps on punt attempts and fumbles.
The Seminoles had three bad snaps in the first half on punt attempts and a turnover on a fumble. The last bad snap rolled into the end zone and resulted in a Lakewood Ranch safety.
The Mustangs went 60 yards on 11 plays on their second possession of the game with Rex taking it in from a yard out to take a 7-0 lead. Rex ran for 50 yards on the drive with nine carries.
The Mustangs increased their lead to 16-0 on a five-yard run by Justin Fischer in the second quarter on a four-play drive that was highlighted by a 30-yard pass from Rex to James Jeffcoat.
Southeast finally got on the board on quarterback James Thomas' four-yard run with 1:50 left before halftime.
"We are having problems that we don't see in practice (with the bad snaps). I don't know where they come from or if the kids get nervous," Southeast head coach John Warren said. "We couldn't handle the snap, and we couldn't handle an exchange. Our quarterback plays his guts out, and then we get self-inflicted wounds."
In the third quarter, Southeast had three fumbles (recovered two) and another bad snap. On another occasion, a good snap sailed through the punter's hands.
Rex scored on a one-yard run in the third quarter and 34 seconds into the final period the Mustangs increased their lead to 30-7 on a five-yard run by Fischer. D.J. Joyner scored
Southeast's second touchdown on a five yard run with 8:05 remaining but Ranch tacked on another six points on a nine-yard run by Darren Lowery with three minutes left.
Thomas was a workhorse for the Seminoles. He rushed for 90 yards on 18 carries and completed 9 of 17 passes for 117 yards.
"We've just got to get back to the drawing board and seeing what we can do better," Warren said. "I don't know if we are taking our eye off the ball. But we will watch film and try to get better. We can't win if we are going to have this many mistakes."