Panthers are looking to build on comeback victory
Lecanto is guarding against "complacency" after rallying from a 14-point deficit last week.
By DAWN REISS
Published September 16, 2005
LECANTO - The taste of victory still sits on the Panthers' mouths. They know it is easy to become complacent all too quickly. Lecanto coach Bob LeCours has cautioned against it.
Last week, for the first time in school history, Lecanto beat Leesburg 28-26. What's more remarkable is how it was done, rallying from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit and stopping the Yellow Jackets on the 1-yard line as time expired.
"It showed me that these kids have it in them," LeCours said. "What we've got to guard against now is complacency. We're a good football team, but the problem is what we've got to be. We've got to able to play it week to week."
Tonight will be a good test for Lecanto (1-1) and Citrus (0-3). It's a game both teams have been talking about since preseason. Without South Sumter in the district, the Hurricanes are the only returning squad that has playoff experience.
"Because of that, they are the team to beat," Lecanto quarterback Mychal Nichols said. "Citrus is still the top team. I feel like the winner of this game is in good position to make the playoffs."
But chances are opening up for Lecanto, which - along with Hernando - are the only teams to post victories this season. The Panthers are the only squad in the five-team district that hasn't suffered from significant injuries this season.
The key for Lecanto will be controling the tempo, slowing down Citrus' passing game.
"They are a very strong team that puts the defense in a lot of binds," LeCours said.
Both squads have struggled with defense. But unlike Citrus, which couldn't stop Gulf's 585 yards of offense last week, Lecanto stone-walled Leesburg for the win.
The Panthers also stayed composed in what was becoming an increasingly dire situation against the Yellow Jackets, tying the game with 1:32 left in the fourth.
"It was the first time we came together like we did," said Garrett Frieberg, who caught a tying 15-yard pass from Nichols. "Nobody put each other down. We just kept our heads in the game, and that's what led us down the fourth-quarter drive."
The momentum builder is strengthening confidence in a program that has had just one winning season since 1984.
"We heard the talk that Lecanto can't beat them, and we took it to heart," Nichols said.
"We wanted to prove people wrong. We're a program people doubt, but look at us now - that was a big turning point of the program."