Sanford, Fla. — Led by the quarterback-running back combination of Kaylan Wiggins, who threw for two scores and 223 yards, and DJ Hampton who rushed three scores of his own and 140 yards, the Seminoles of Sanford were able to upset the University Titans in the Class 8A, District 2 opener. In this first taste of District play for both squads, the Noles had the tough job of slowing down University running back Lorenzo Lingard, the number two back in the nation for the class of 2018. Despite a 61-yard rushing touchdown from Lingard midway through the fourth quarter, the Seminoles played strong defense and shocked University, winning at home 35-21 over the Titans.
THE INFO: A quick three and out to open the game, the Titans were already punting. Due to do a poor snap, the kicker’s knee appeared to be down which gave Seminole great field position on the 36-yard line. Three minutes later, Hampton struck first with an 8-yard rushing touchdown giving Seminole a 7-0 lead with 5 minutes left in the first quarter. The Titans’ offense jumped back on the field and scored less than a minute later. Lingard was forced to the left side picking up 11 yards, and on the next play, University quarterback Cody Braden found Ryan Kenis for a 53-yard reception tying the game at seven apiece at the 4:32 mark of the first quarter.
Hampton found the back of the end zone one more time in the first quarter as he rumbled down the field for a 68-yard touchdown off a short pass from quarterback Kaylan Wiggins silencing the University fans. At the end of the first quarter, the Seminoles led 14-7. Both teams found themselves punting in the next two series of offense and the score held at halftime; 14-7 Seminoles lead.
The Titans forced the Noles to punt at the start of the third quarter and then drove the ball down field which set up Lorenzo Lingard on the three-yard line. Lingard scored knotting the game up at 14 with four minutes and 50 seconds left on the clock in the third quarter.
DJ Hampton ran the ball for 56 yards which set up Seminole deep in the red-zone. The Seminoles took back the lead, one which they wouldn’t give up again for the remainder of the game, after a 5-yard TD pass from Wiggins to Deandre Whipper. Trailing 21-14 with 2:28 left in the third, the Titans were set to receive the kickoff. Seminole forced the fumble on the ensuing kickoff and four players later, Hampton walked into the end zone on a 7-yard rushing score extending Seminole’s lead to 28-14 with 33 seconds left in the third.
After scoring 14 unanswered points in a matter of minutes, the Seminoles felt confident they could close out and win at home. Their defense proved it as Chris Thompson picked off Braden and the Noles were back on offense at the start of the 4th quarter. Numerous penalties pushed Wiggins and company back to the 39-yard line and the Titans stepped back on offense after the punt.
The Titans refused to give up late in this game. Showing off his track speed, Lorenzo Lingard broke free for 61-yards and scored cutting the deficit to seven points with just under eight minutes left in the game.
KEY DRIVE OF THE GAME: The final drive by the Seminoles appeared to be too much for the University defense. A 14-play, 90-yard drive from the Seminole offense used up over six minutes of the remaining time in the game as the Noles capped off the long drive with another Hampton rushing touchdown. This time, DJ Hampton’s 10-yard rushing touchdown iced the game giving Seminole a 35-21 lead. The Titans simply did not have enough time on the clock to try to come back one final time as they suffered their first loss of the season.
STAR OF THE GAME: The Seminole running back DJ Hampton seemed unstoppable Friday night facing off against the University defense. The senior finished the night off with three touchdowns and 140 yards on the ground including the game-clinching TD with 1:38 left in the game.
DID YOU KNOW: Not even during their 2008 state championship season did the Seminoles start off the year with a three-game winning streak. You have to go back 12 seasons in 2004 when Seminole won the first three games of the season against West Orange, Lake Brantley, and Lake Howell. Not only is it their third win of the season, but since it was the first week of district play for teams, the Seminoles have an early advantage in Class 8A, District 2. The other teams in the district with a district win in week three were Lyman and Lake Mary. However, the Noles are the only team in District 2 with an overall record of (3-0).
QUOTABLE: “It was great, we got a win against a good football team. Whenever you can beat probably one of the best teams in the district in the first district game of the season, you’ve got to be happy about that. Hampton played and I am really proud of all of our guys. This means (1-0) in the district so you’ve got to win the next one or that one doesn’t really matter. It was a good win for us,” said Seminole head coach Don Stark after the game.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Seminoles (3-0) are back home for the fourth straight weekend as they host DeLand (1-3). Last season, the Noles won 28-0 crushing the Bulldogs on the road. As for University, the Titans look to bounce back as they travel to face the Lake Brantley Patriots. (2-2). The Patriots suffered 43-42 nail-biting loss to Lake Mary in week three. The next five games for University are district match-ups as things are beginning to heat up after four weeks of Florida high school football.