No longer playoff contenders, Class 7A-District 11 rivals Sarasota and host Lakewood Ranch entered Friday’s game mired in losing streaks. The Sailors halted their four-game skid by handing the Mustangs their fourth straight loss — all of which have come in the district — with a 34-0 win.
Sarasota (4-5 overall, 2-3 in 7A-11) now has three straight wins over Lakewood Ranch (3-4, 1-4).
Sarasota dominated the first half, scoring touchdowns on all five of its possessions. There was no scoring in a second half marked by four turnovers, three in favor of the Sailors.
“It’s definitely what we wanted to do,” Sarasota coach Brian Ryals said of his team’s strong start. “We felt like we needed to get off to a quick start.”
Brian Battie led that early offensive onslaught by scoring four touchdowns. The sophomore running back finished with 198 yards (146 rushing and 52 receiving), twice scoring on the second play of drives.
On Sarasota’s second play from scrimmage, Battie burst up the middle and broke free for a 55-yard touchdown. On the Sailors’ next possession, Battie took a screen pass from quarterback Vincent Parisi in the left flat, cut back to the middle of the field and outraced a handful of defenders into the end zone for a 52-yard touchdown.
Then, after Mitch Nguyen tackled Lakewood Ranch punter Jacob Enos following a fumbled snap, Battie again scored on the second play of a drive. His ensuing 11-yard scoring run, followed by Austin Weigman’s third consecutive PAT kick, gave the Sailors an insurmountable 21-0 lead.
Battie added his fourth touchdown, a 3-yard run that capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive and included his 25-yard run on a 4th-and-4 play.
Sarasota increased its lead to 34-0 late in the second quarter on Parisi’s 16-yard pass to Deric DuBose.
Had the Sailors continued running the ball as effectively in the second half, the outcome might have been greater with a running clock most likely shortening the time of the game. However, Ryals opted to get a look at Parisi in the passing game, albeit without much success.
“We had some hiccups on offense, but we were able to step up our defense and stop (the Mustangs) in the second half,” Ryals said.
Parisi, who completed 9 of 21 for 149 yards, was picked off by Lakewood Ranch’s Caleb Browner in the second half, but he fared better than his counterpart. Lakewood Ranch quarterback Justin Curtis was intercepted three times, twice by Jason Scott with teammate Charles Ward adding a pick.