tampabay.com

Warriors just keep plugging away

Osceola, and especially RB Bryce Williams, grind out a 17-10 win over Lakewood.

By BOB PUTNAM
Published October 14, 2006


ST. PETERSBURG - Osceola fullback Bryce Williams, a bandage covering a cut on his left hand, had the look of a man who had been in a tough fight.

He had absorbed knee-wobbling hits on nearly every play as he led ground-pounding scoring drives that were as painful to watch as a dentist's drill is to hear. His punishing style helped the Warriors beat Lakewood 17-10 on Friday.

"It was a tough game, but we knew we had to keep going with what works for us," Williams said.

It was a game of old-fashioned, in-your-face running by Osceola (6-1), which gained 225 yards on the ground. The Warriors played ball-control in hopes of preventing the Spartans (3-4) from making big plays.

It didn't always work.

In the second quarter, Lakewood quarterback Kevin Hartzog threw a 74-yard touchdown to Shayon Headley to make it 7-0 after Erick Cuoco's extra point.

Cuoco also kicked a 41-yard field goal to give the Spartans a 10-0 lead.

On the sideline, Osceola coach George Palmer pushed every button but the one marked panic.

"Basically, we weren't blocking as well as we could," Palmer said. "But we were only down two scores. We just needed to make some plays and get something going."

The Warriors did on their last possession before the half, marching 34 yards to set up Vinny Gianfrancesco's 20-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 10-3.

The momentum carried over to the second half as Osceola scored twice on runs by Williams (18 yards) and Sergio Allen (4 yards).

The Warriors also got a strong performance from Nick Bennett, who recorded five sacks.

Osceola can clinch a playoff berth with a win against Bradenton Southeast next week.