Zephyrhills Free Press

Pride Comes Before The Fall

Overconfidence May Have Led To Heartbreaking Loss For Warriors
Story and Photos by Dave Walter


Zephyrhills Christian’s Quavious Cook breaks up a pass play in the Warriors 27-26 loss Friday night against Bradenton Christian Academy.


Zephyrhills Christian Academy couldn’t convert a two-point conversion and suffered a heartbreaking 27-26 loss to Bradenton Christian Friday night in front of the home crowd.

The excitement of Hezekiah Langley’s kickoff return to the Panthers’ 13-yard-line late in the game as the Warriors trailed 27-20 brought the crowd to their feet as ZCA’s comeback was in the Works. 

Michael Carter plowed into the endzone from the five-yard-line to bring the Warriors close at 27-26 with 3:47 to play. Novo’s pass for the two-point conversion hit the ground, but a penalty flag for pass interference
appeared to give the Warriors another chance. Sadly, the flag was waved off as officials ruled the wall was tipped.


Donnie Lloyd puts a hit on Bradenton Christian Academy quarterback Cameron Desrochers as he releases a pass Friday night

“It was going to be a pass play all along,” said ZCA head coach Mike Smith. “We had it planned if we needed a two-point play. The pass interference call. We should have had another chance and we were going to run it from the half-yard-line.”

The Warriors held a 14-0 lead, but then something happened late in the first half.

“They quit,” said Smith. “They thought we had it won. That’s it. We had a terrible week of practice. There was a lot of animosity, a lot of divide in practice and it carried over.”

After a big win in week one, Smith believes his squad may have been overconfident.


“They think that because they are such good athletes that they can just show up and win,” Smith said. “You can’t underestimate teams. I told them they (BCA) were going to be a better-coached team than we played last
week. They had to be prepared.”



ZCA Junior tight end Jonathan Dehart gets upended just short of the goal line in Friday’s 27-26 loss to Bradenton Christian Academy.

Nick Novo got the Warriors moving with a beautiful 42-yard pass to Caleb Gaskins. ZCA got on the board at 6:30 the first quarter on a three-yard plunge by power runner Antonio Hunt. The PAT failed and the Warriors
held a 6-0 lead.

ZCA extended the lead to 14-0 at the 7:32 mark of the second quarter on a 28-yard scoop and score fumble recovery by Jonathan Zalesc. Gaskin tossed a two-point conversion.

The Warriors failed to capitalize on another Bradenton Christian turnover after Quavious Cook hauled in his first of two interceptions.

“We have to come together as a family. We have to keep working and never give up,” said Cook. “We have to play the whole way through even when we’re tired. The first half, we were ready. In the second half when
they scored, we put our heads down.”

The Panthers put up two quick touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half exploiting the Warriors’ secondary to close the gap to 14-13.

Cook recovered a fumble in the third quarter to set up the Warriors in excellent field position at the Panthers’ 40-yard-line, but the offense sputtered. Cook added his second interception, but again, the Warriors
failed to add points to the scoreboard.

Bradenton Christian took the lead 19-14 in the third quarter on a one-yard quarterback keeper. The two-point conversion failed.

Set up by a 42-yard pass completion from Novo to Langley, the Warriors got another touchdown run from Hunt to take the lead back 20-19.

A 15-yard facemask penalty helped move the Panthers to the Warriors 30-yard-line. On fourth-and-10 with 4:57 left in the game, the Panthers exploited the secondary again for a 28-yard gain. Another quarterback keeper and the two-point conversion put Bradenton Christian in the lead for good as the Warriors couldn’t completethe comeback.

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