LAKEWOOD RANCH -- An auspicious start to Homecoming turned into another disappointing result for the Lakewood Ranch football team Friday night as the Mustangs dropped a 34-14 decision to Land O'Lakes Sunlake.
A 42-yard opening kickoff return by senior Trevor Losada gave Lakewood Ranch the ball at its own 47. The Mustangs (1-4) capitalized on the excellent field possession and scored on the second play from scrimmage as senior Davion Thomas took a sweep 48 yards for a touchdown.
However, misfortune would strike on each of Lakewood Ranch's next five possessions.
With his team trailing 8-7, Mustangs sophomore quarterback Justin Curtis threw an interception with 4:25 left in the first quarter. On the Seahawks' final play from scrimmage in the quarter, Ryan Clark hauled in his second touchdown pass from Justin Hall.
Following a fumble by Lakewood Ranch early in the second quarter, Tyler Peretti gave Sunlake a 22-7 lead as he hauled in Hall's third touchdown pass of the game from 32 yards.
"From a momentum standpoint, we're kind of a fragile team," Lakewood Ranch head coach Mick Koczersut said. "We need some things to go our way."
Things could have been worse for the Mustangs, but they only trailed 24-7 at the half. The undefeated Seahawks (5-0) were only able to garner a safety from a blocked punt, a botched snap out of the Lakewood Ranch end zone and an interception by Curtis.
The blocked punt came courtesy of Cris Galdos, who had two interceptions and a fumble recovery in last week's 34-0 win over Land O'Lakes. Galdos recorded the first interception of Curtis.
Sunlake would make it 34 unanswered points in the fourth quarter on Hall's fourth touchdown pass of the game -- a 37-yarder to Peretti. Hall finished with 210 yards on 13-of-23 passing, while Peretti had six receptions for 106 yards and Clark had three receptions for 89 yards.
Thomas provided the final points of the game with an 80-yard kickoff return with 6:59 left. Thomas had a team-high 55 yards on two carries and Justin Fischer added 50 yards on 13 carries.
Lakewood Ranch will return to action next Friday with a pivotal Class 7A-District 11 contest against visiting county rival Palmetto. Having dropped its district opener to East County rival Braden River last week, a loss to Palmetto would effectively seal the Mustangs' postseason chances.
"Without a doubt, we still have a chance (at the playoffs)," Koczersut said. "That's the nice thing about the system. Some things can work out for you and you can still get in the playoffs."