Zephyrhills Free Press

Stuttering Start Can’t Hold Warriors Back

ZCA Claims Their Second Win This Season

Story and photos by Dave Walters

Zephyrhills Christian Academy looked good for three quarters and fortunately there were plenty of positives that led the Warriors to a 34-2 win over Mulberry Friday night.

An ugly first quarter featuring a total of six turnovers

between the both teams and a variety of penalties, Zephyrhills Christian Academy (2-1 overall) was fortunate to only be trailing 2-0 heading into the second quarter. Last week, they held a 14-0 lead and lost 27-26to Bradenton Christian.
We’re still sloppy,” said Zephyrhills Christian Academy head coach Mike Smith. “We have a lot of work to do. This was a good win for us.”

ZCA quarterback Nick Novo had a rough first quarter
tossing two interceptions and getting sacked for a safety.
He turned it on the rest of the way running the offense effectively passing for over 102 yards. He was the field general for the running game as well handing the ball off to eight different running backs that amassed 157 yards
on the ground.

“A win like this is extremely huge for us,” Novo said. “We dealt with some things as a team last week and we realized we could get beaten. We’re not indestructible. We need that loss. That will make our comeback more special.”

The Warriors scored 34 unanswered points including two touchdowns by Antonio Hunt, and scores by Demitri Wade, Fred Adams and Emmanuel Arango to give the home crowd plenty to cheer about in a 34-2 win.

“It is a blessing to have running backs like this,” Novo said. “It helps me so much. We have so much depth and it’s scary how good they are.”

The first ZCA touchdown was set up by a punt return by freshman Fred Adams that gave the Warriors a first-and-goal from the Mulberry 7 yard line. One play later, Hunt plowed through the Panthers’ defense for the touch down giving the Warriors a lead they would never relinquish.

“We have the best backs in the county,” said Hunt, who has six touchdown in three games. “All our guys have to get touches. We have to keep pounding it.”

The Warriors tacked on a touchdown as time expired
in the first half when Novo hit Quavious Cook with a 24- yard TD pass. ZCA took a 13-2 lead with them into the locker room at halftime.

After each team traded possessions in the third quarter, ZCA took over after an errant punt gave them great field position. A Mulberry personal foul penalty gave the Warriors even better field position setting them
up at the Panthers’ 18 yard line. Hunt added his second score of the game on a two-yard plunge. The PAT was blocked and ZCA held a 19-2 lead.


Sophomore running back Antonio Hunt crosses the goal line with authority scoring one of his two touchdowns inFriday’s 34-2 win over Mulberry.

Mulberry looked like they were going to respond, but that threat was thwarted when Rilenn Cintron registered the Warriors’ third interception of the night.

“Our defense was lights out,” Smith said. “I challenged them this week. Last week we blew some coverages and did some silly things. That is not common for us. Our defense has always carried our butts.”

Wade joined the scoring fest with a 12-yard run down the left sideline. A two-point conversion run put the Warriors up 27-2. The scoring parade was wrapped up with 35 seconds to play by a 37-yard touchdown run by eighth-grade running back Emmanuel Arrango.

“He is super strong,” Smith said. “What a great way to break. He is going to be a heck of a player.”

After three straight home games, the Warriors are on the road next week to face Crescent City

 

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