By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports reporter
BROOKSVILLE- With the death of junior varsity football player Trevor Bowen still on everyone’s mind, the Hernando High varsity football team took the field to face Class 1A opponent Wildwood on Sept. 20, 2019. The Wildcats produced a formidable challenge, as they featured 6-foot-5 quarterback Oscene Mikell and a slew of talented wide receivers.
Difficult in many ways for Hernando head coach Rob Kazmier was game planning for Wildwood on a week that mourned the death of one of their own. The Leopards played inspired football defensively, as they were able to squeak out a 14-6 victory over the Wildcats at Tom Fisher Stadium. With the win, Hernando now improves to 2-3 on the season heading into next week’s matchup against Weeki Wachee.
“I know (Mikell’s) completion percentage was high but we kept everything in front of us and that’s what we want,” Kazmier said. “We thought they were going to be without their quarterback and top wide receiver and we saw the quarterback warming up in pregame but the wide receiver still was out."
The Leopards found it difficult to slow down the efficient passing attack of Wildwood, but Kazmier stressed the importance of not allowing anything over the top of his secondary. Hernando made sure Mikell didn’t beat that with the big play and ended up intercepting a pass in the second half in part to playing deeper zone coverage.
Getting it done on the offensive side of the football was quarterback Maurice Holland and crew, as Hernando started getting into gear in the second half. Hernando took advantage of a muffed Wildwood punt snap and scored on great field position inside the Wildcats’ 20-yard line. Holland ended up scoring on a 1-yard keeper, giving Hernando a 7-0 lead.
Remaining up 7-0 going into the fourth quarter, the Leopards were searching for that extra score that would help them pull away and they would find it. Hernando running back Kev’on Williams got to the edge on the right side in the final period and scored from 20 yards out to give the Leopards a commanding 14-0 lead.
The Wildcats would make things interesting in the final minutes when Mikell would throw a touchdown pass. It ended up being too little, too late for Wildwood and any comeback attempt, as Hernando ran down the clock and pulled away with win No. 2 on the season. Now the Leopards get back on the field Friday night to face a winless Weeki Wachee team.