Defense helps Panthers rout Warriors
Zach Cooper was nearly unstoppable, rushing 19 times for 171 yards and 4 touchdowns as Bradenton Christian routed Bayshore Christian 41-0 in a jamboree that left head coach Alan Gerber very proud of his team.
"Cooper had an amazing game, and his play was really spurned on by our stifling defense," Gerber said. "That's an area that we really emphasized in the offseason. The kids really played well and the outcome left me ecstatic."
Domnick Otteni also had a huge game -- all over the field -- tallying 66 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown and also going 8-for-9 for 132 yards and another score through the air.
Never miss a local story.
If that wasn't enough, Otteni also notched an interception on defense.
Brett Gerber led the stout unit with 18 tackles, while Noah Osborne snagged another intercetption for the Panthers.
Bradenton Christian will open the season at Southwest Florida Christian next week in Ft. Myers.
SOUTHWEST FLORIDA CHRISTIAN 30, OUT-OF-DOOR ACADEMY 13 -- The Thunder were supposed to play at home, but ended up hitting the road to face the Kings -- and missed the edge. ODA's Cody Cheney scored on a 5-yard touchdown to put the Thunder up 7-0, but ODA quickly became overwhelmed, falling down 20-7 at the half. The Kings kept the pressure on ODA's young players in the second half, scoring another touchdown and safety before the Thunder's Gus Mahler launched a 35-yard touchdown to Dakota Dickerson.
Owen Han tallied seven tackles, while Christain McCarthy notched a sack for ODA.
The Thunder will face off against Schorecrest Prep at home at 7 p.m. in opener.
ORLANDO CHRISTIAN 23, SAINT STEPHEN'S 20 -- A pair of fumbles and an early interception stalled the Falcons' offense and left SSES with too much ground to make up in a preseason loss to the Warriors at Moore Athletic Complex at Turner Field.
Saint Stephen's trailed 8-0 at the half and quickly fell behind 16-0 after the break before battling back to lose by three. Quarterback Fred Billy ran for two touchdowns and threw another for the Falcons, who finished with 396 total yards and 221 on the ground.
SSES goes on the road for its regular-season opener at Windermere at 7 p.m Friday.