LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Lakewood Ranch football coach Shawn Trent knows the chances of duplicating last year's success, in which his Mustangs nearly upset the top-ranked team in the country, is minimal.
With only five returning starters from his 2011 team that lost to eventual state champion Seffner Armwood in the Class 6A region quarterfinals, Trent suspects it will take time to develop chemistry with so many new players
That assumption was affirmed Friday night during a 42-7 loss to Sarasota High in both team's Kickoff Classic.
A running clock was issued in the fourth quarter per the 35-point mercy rule.
Sarasota quarterback Hunter DeWitt led the Sailors with 145 passing yards and a touchdown along with 24 yards rushing with a touchdown. Running back Rod Tullis added 80 yards rushing with three touchdowns.
Lakewood Ranch junior quarterback Jordan Wilson scored on a 1-yard rushing touchdown with just more than nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to avoid a shutout.
"The first half, I didn't think we were in sync at all," Trent said. "In the third quarter, I thought we had that one nice drive but we didn't finish it. We had a couple of chances and I thought we definitely should have punched it in."
In the third quarter, the Mustangs made their first trip into the red zone and found themselves at first and goal thanks to a personal foul by Sarasota. Lakewood Ranch threw four consecutive incomplete passes and turned the ball over on downs.
"We had a couple of bad throws and a couple of drops and just didn't finish it," Trent said. "Again, that's a sophomore quarterback throwing to a young receiver."
Sophomore receiver Terez Davis was a bright spot for the Mustangs' offense, catching three passes for 46 yards. Defensively, Lakewood Ranch forced and recovered two fumbles, one of which led to Wilson's touchdown.
Sarasota jumped out to a 28-0 lead at the half. Wilson finished the game with three completions for 39 yards.
"I was proud of the fact they came out in the third quarter hard. We moved the ball a little bit in the third quarter," Trent said.
Lakewood Ranch will open the season against Braden River, which they defeated 35-27 in the season opener last year. Trent doesn't expect this years squad to live up last year's expectation so early in the season.
"It's an entirely different team," Trent said.