Thriller: University knocks off defending 5A state champs Bishop Moore

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ORLANDO, Fla. — It had been over three years since the Bishop Moore Hornets lost a game at home. Thier home game winning streak ended Friday night as the Orange City University Titans won in a shootout, 38-33 over Hornets’ running back and Army commit Joe Wallace and company. The number two running back in the nation for the class of 2018, Lorenzo Lingard, started the game off hot with an 87-yard touchdown run. After the first 20 seconds of the game, the Titans led 7-0 early in what would become a high-scoring game.

THE INFO: After the Titans scored, the Hornets jumped on offense and CJ McNeal rumbled down the field for a 76-yard rushing touchdown tying the game at seven just minutes after the first whistle. McNeal continued to run on the next offensive possession setting up an 11-yard reception from quarterback Connor Scheitzach to tight end Notre Dame commit, Jonathon MacCollister, giving Bishop Moore a 14-7 lead at the 7:54 mark of the first quarter.

University quarterback Cody Braden found Lawrence Coleman in the open and tossed the ball 39 yards, knotting the game at 14 middle of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Bishop Moore took back the lead after facing a 4th and 5 on the Titan’s 36-yard line. McNeal broke through the defense and scored with just under 11 minutes left in the half.

Things got ugly on defense for the Hornets as the Titans would score three more times in the first half. First, Lingard bounced to the outside for a 46-yard rushing touchdown, his 2nd of the half. Then, after a missed 40-yard field goal from the Hornets and an interception on defense by Latrell Faison for University, the Titans’ back Marquis Mickens walked into the end zone for a one-yard rushing touchdown. Finally, Braden hooked up with Ryan Kenis, a ten-yard touchdown catch just 22 seconds before the half. The Titans led 35-20 at halftime.

Four minutes into the 2nd half, the Hornets found life and surged back into the game. Trilion Coles brought Bishop Moore within two points after a 5-yard rushing touchdown followed up by a 17-yard touchdown just minutes later. After Coles’ second rushing touchdown, the Hornets trailed 35-33 with 4:38 left in the third quarter.

Bishop Moore had a huge opportunity to steal the lead after University coughed up the ball on the kickoff return setting up the Hornets inside the red zone. The Titans buckled down on defense, first by not giving up a touchdown, then with a blocked field goal by Trevor Gregory which held the 35-33 lead at the three-minute mark of the third.

Leading by two points the clock was in their favor with just under 9 minutes left in the game for the Titans. Braden let the ball fly for a 53-yard reception to Jacob Moss who was tackled at the six-yard line, preventing another University touchdown. The Titans settled for a field goal and although the lead was now 38-33, it was still a one-possession game with 7:30 remaining–plenty of time for the Hornets to score.

KEY PLAY(S) OF THE GAME: Bishop Moore drove the ball down to the Titans’ 21-yard line with just over three minutes left in the game. On a third and five, there was trouble in the backfield as the next play resulted in a four-yard loss. 4th and 9, the Hornets needed to either score or convert the first down. The University defense would not allow any of it as they forced the incomplete pass.

All the Titans had to do was get a first down of their own and kneel the ball to end the game. One minute remained in the game as Mickens broke free for a 43-yard run that allowed University to run out the clock, securing the 38-33 victory over the defending 5A state champs in Bishop Moore.

STAR OF THE GAME: Lorenzo Lingard emerged as the star of the game as the main back for the Titans rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns. However, University quarterback Cody Braden took the nod as the junior went 12-of-19 for 213 yards and 2 touchdowns.

DID YOU KNOW: Entering the game, the Bishop Moore Hornets were riding a 13-home-game winning streak dating back to November 15, 2013, when the Hornets lost at home to Palm Bay in the Class 5A playoffs.

QUOTABLE: “I think it’s a great test for us to come out and battle a team of this caliber and now we go into district play next week ready for that. I think this game helped us get ready for our district match-up next week. This says a lot about our character and their character. They are a great team and they battled us for four quarters. They made some really good halftime adjustments and we had to counter-adjust. We came out and we did what we needed to do,” said head coach Brian Kells of the University Titans after the 38-33 victory.

WHAT’S NEXT: Next week, University travels to face district foe Seminole (2-0), a team fresh off of a 28-13 win over Spruce Creek (2-1). As for the Hornets, they too are on the road against a district team as Bishop Moore battles Poinciana (0-3), a team that scored for the first time this season in week three as they lost 23-14 to Port St. Lucie (1-1).


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