Showcasing its big-play ability in a decisive second quarter, visiting Southwest Florida Christian Academy posted a 35-15 victory over Bradenton Christian in Friday night’s season opener at Dan van der Kooy Field.
With their team trailing 3-0 early in the second quarter, Southwest Florida Christian junior quarterback Kobe Gee and senior Chase Reed connected for a 20-yard touchdown. Reed’s classmate, Jacob Soud, would find the end zone twice later in the period as he scored on a 72-yard run and a 71-yard pass from Gee.
“We definitely got (big-play ability),” Southwest Florida Christian head coach Mike Marciano said. “With a spread offense, we can do that. The first and third quarter were not what we wanted with too many penalties, but Kobe Gee was great his first time playing quarterback. We had some receivers step up. And how about Chase Reed? He was huge, moving from quarterback to wide receiver. Very unselfish.”
Bradenton Christian (0-1) failed to make the most of a short field in the first quarter, only garnering a field goal on its first possession after stopping Southwest Florida Christian on a fourth-and-1. The Panthers went three-and-out on their second possession and punted from the Southwest Florida Christian 47 before throwing an interception at the Southwest Christian 33 with 4:56 left in the first quarter.
The Panthers trailed 14-3 when Soud and Max Rippl broke up a pass at the goal line intended for Kevin Etienne. Quarterback Dominick Otteni was stopped for no goal on the next play, a fourth-and-1 from the Southwest Christian 15.
Etienne would get a measure of redemption as he made a juggling grab on an Otteni pass and raced 56 yards for a touchdown to draw the Panthers within 12, 21-9. However, Southwest Florida Christian answered 16 seconds later on the scoring pass from Gee to Reed that made the game 28-9 at halftime.
Gee scored on a quarterback sneak midway through the fourth quarter to give Southwest Florida Christian a 35-9 lead. Bradenton Christian took advantage of a pass interference penalty on what should have been the game’s final play. Bathie Thiam, who opened the scoring with a 39-yard field, hauled in a 34-yard touchdown pass from Otteni for the game’s final margin.
“Regardless of ability or anything, one thing about our kids is they’ll never die,” Bradenton Christian ninth-year head coach Allan Gerber said. “They’ll never quit in battle. That’s a character trait you want them to have.”
SWFC 35, Bradenton Christian 15
B – Bathie Thiam 39 FG, 9:00
S– Chase Reed 20 pass from Kobe Gee (Stephen Bergquist kick), 10:39
S – Jacob Soud 72 run (Bergquist kick), 7:44
S – Soud 71 pass from Gee (Bergquick kick), 2:34
B – Kevin Etiene 54 pass from Dominick Otteni (run failed), 1:05
S – Reed 72 pass from Gee (Bergquist kick), 0:49.1
S – Gee 1 run (Bergquist kick), 7:25
B – Thiam 34 pass from Otteni (no attempt), 0:00
Rushing: Southwest Florida Christian 35-192: Soud 5-93, Max Rippl 9-45, Gee 14-35, Johnathan Rants 6-22, Reed 1-(-3). Bradenton Christian 28-68: Jordan Miller 7-48, Otteni 14-23, Travis Windham 6-3, Zach Seagreaves 1-(-6)
Passing: Southwest Florida Christian 8-25-0-228: Gee 8-25-0-228. Bradenton Christian 15-30-1-160: Otteni 13-28-1-2-163, Seagreaves 1-1-0-0-0, Thiam 1-1-0-(-3).
Receiving: Southwest Florida Christian: Reed 5-119, Soud 1-71, Rippl 1-28, Drew Davidson 1-10. Bradenton Christian: Winston Spencer 4-39, Kevin Etiene 2-66, Miller 3-15, Brett Gerber 2-9, Windham 2-0, Thiam 1-34, Noah Osborne 1-(-3).