LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Sam Leonard said he never thought he'd contribute two different ways to score points in high school football when he woke up Friday.
But that's precisely what the Cardinal Mooney linebacker did against host Out-of-Door Academy.
Leonard delivered a safety in the first quarter, before getting a chance to play offense and score a touchdown in the Cougars' 64-0 Class 3A-District 6 opener.
The victory clinched a playoff berth for Mooney (6-1, 1-0 district), while eliminating the Thunder (2-5, 0-2) from contention in the three-team district.
And the Cougars did it with a quick-striking offense coupled with a hard-hitting defense that stymied ODA's offense.
The Thunder managed just 84 yards of total offense, with one play accounting for 74 of those yards.
That punishing defense was due, in part, to Leonard's play.
"Any time you get a team on the 5-yard line, the first thing we say in the huddle is, 'Let's get a safety here,'" said Leonard, who tackled Thunder running back Najee Rhodes for the safety.
Following that safety, Leonard and Co. continued to thwart the Thunder with some key plays, which included Sean Morris Jr. returning an interception 91 yards for a score.
Meanwhile, Mooney's offense didn't lose a step as quarterback Reese Vita set a program record for career passing touchdowns just a week after becoming the all-time leader in career passing yards.
The Bradenton native hooked up with Blair Perry for a 20-yard touchdown pass just a minute and 35 seconds into the game to set the record.
It was one of three touchdown passes for Vita, who completed 14 of 18 passes for 180 yards before being pulled at halftime.
"It's fantastic, it's huge," said Vita, who has 37 career touchdown passes. "I definitely, for sure, wouldn't be anywhere without my players, my coaches surrounding me and preparing me for this. They prepare me every week as the best as they can. It's up to me to do the rest. And it's just so awesome to have those guys around me, supporting me every day. It'll probably be broken some day. In fact, I'm sure it will be broken some day. But it's been awesome and it makes everything that much better."
The offensive explosion led to a running clock for the second half, and Mooney added a special teams score when and ODA snap on a punt attempt was mishandled and was kicked just past the line of scrimmage to Chad Wilkins' waiting arms. The sophomore defensive end rumbled his way 20 yards to pay dirt.
That touchdown opened the second-half scoring for the Cougars, who host Fort Myers Bishop Verot in two weeks for the 3A-6 championship.
"We wanted to come out and start fast," Mooney head coach Josh Smithers said. "I thought we did that. We still have to play (Lakeland) Victory Christian, who played for the 2A state title last year, Friday. So we have our hands full with Victory and won't overlook them. We'll worry about Verot in two weeks.
"And that meeting with Verot could see a new offensive weapon with Leonard, who ripped off a 49-yard burst up the middle on the final play of the game for his second touchdown of the season following last week's rushing score on a fullback dive play.
"I expected to have a good game, but never a touchdown and a safety," Leonard said. " I thank the O-Line for that 100 percent, without them there was going to be no hole. I just let them do their blocking and I just followed it through the hole."