VERO BEACH — Coming off an emotional win against Sebastian River High School, the Vero Beach Fighting Indians took on the West Boca Raton Bulls at Billy Livings Field at the Citrus Bowl Friday night and won 21 to 7.
“We cramped up a lot during the second half of last week’s game,” Coach Coggin said. “Conditioning was a big part of practice during the week.”
The Fighting Indians kicked the ball off to the Bulls to start the game. The Bulls offensive drive was stopped when Alexander Prakas’s pass was intercepted by Larry Franklin deep in Vero territory.
Franklin returned the interception to the Bulls’s 45-yard line. Two plays later, Vero Beach’s Dentist Hall ran a 13-yard toss left for the touchdown. Karson Dietrich kicked the extra point, Vero took the lead 7 – 0 with 6:50 left in the first quarter.
The Fighting Indians capitalized on a muffed punt by the Bulls’ punter. The punt was picked up by Brandon James who returned the punt 40 yards for the touchdown. Dietrich made the extra point bringing Vero to a lead of 14 – 0 with 4:25 left in the first quarter.
During the second quarter, the Bulls Alexander Prakas completed a 41-yard pass to Robert Lockhart.
However the Bulls were unable to capitalize on this big play, when Mauro Bondi missed a 34-yard field goal wide right. The first half ended with the Vero Beach Fighting Indians leading the West Boca Raton Bulls 14 – 0.
In the third quarter, Vero Beach stalled on a long drive and found themselves with a critical fourth and one.
Jormonte Hunter took the ball to the left side and fought for the first down.
“I thought the play was over, but no one had blown the whistle,” Coach Coggin said. “Then I saw Jormonte running.”
Hunter ran through the line for a 48-yard touchdown run.
“Normally I’m conservative,” the coach continued. “But you never know when the opportunity will arise. We went with a quick count. It was the right time and good execution by our team.” Vero Beach lead 21-0 with 8:16 left in the third quarter.
Following a 32-yard punt by Vero Beach, the West Boca Bulls found themselves with in good field position. After three quick plays, Prakas found Lockhart on a fade route in the corner of the end zone. With a 1:38 left in the third quarter, Vero Beach led 21 – 7.
Following another short Vero Beach punt at the end of the third quarter, the Bulls found themselves again with excellent field position.
However two straight penalties forced them back, including a 15-yard personal foul penalty. After completing a first down, Prakas threw three straight incomplete passes. The last two were the result of outside linebacker, Dwayne Hoilett, who was able to get pressure on Prakas. “Hoilett is our big puppy,” Coach Coggin said. “He has the least amount of experience amongst our big four. But he has shown improvement every week. He’s going to be an excellent football player.”
With a few minutes left in the game, the West Boca Raton Bulls made a drive down the field. With 1:57 left in the game, Vero Beach’s defense stepped up.
Defensive back Garthner “Sean” Paul intercepted Parakas at the 7-yard line, sealing the victory for the Fighting Indians.
“For this team to be successful, our defense is going to have be something special,” the coach said.
For the West Boca Bulls, quarterback Prakas was 15 for 28 with 186 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Their top receiver was Robert Lockhart who caught 5 passes for 102 yards. Their top rusher was Marquis Jones with 15 carries for 43 yards.
For the Vero Beach Fighting Indians, quarterback Todd Fennell was 3 for 7 with 41 yards. Their top receivers were Dentist Hall and Joe Garofalo, each with 1 catch for 17 yards. Vero’s top runner was Jormonte Hunter, who had 11 carries for 101 yards.
Vero Beach, now 3-0, will next play Fort Pierce Westwood on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. at Billy Livings Field at the Citrus Bowl.