TRINITY — Land O’Lakes kept up its breakneck offensive pace, running and throwing its way past Mitchell 45-21 Friday in the teams’ Class 6A-6 district opener.
James Pensyl threw for 271 yards and ran for two scores, and Larenz Scroggins added 147 on the ground, his 57-yard sprint putting away the contest with 6:11 remaining.
Land O’Lakes (4-0) has already surpassed last year’s win total.
“It’s exciting. We have a bunch of different guys who can hurt you on offense,” Gators coach Brian Wachtel said.
Land O’Lakes racked up 517 yards on offense.
Pensyl threw for 194 in the first half, a big chunk coming on his first completion when Javin Tandy took off for an 81-yard score. The next play called for Tandy turned into a 40-yard touchdown run that had the Gators up 31-7 early in the second half.
But Mitchell (2-2) scored twice in a span of 75 seconds to make it a game again. Taylor Schneider’s play action freed Ryan Marsh for a 65-yard TD reception, and after forcing a punt, Mitchell got within 31-21 on Christian Trinidad’s 68-yard jaunt. Trinidad ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
Then Gandy nearly made it 3-for-3, taking a harmless looking screen for a 46-yard gain down to the 8. But the Gators missed a field goal and later fumbled with Mitchell’s Devontay Taylor recovering at the LOL 35. But three mishandled snaps in a five-play stretch slowed the Mustangs’ momentum, and they also missed a kick.
That’s when the Gators’ hurry-up approach could have cost them, as they went three and out, taking just a minute off the clock. It gave Mitchell plenty of time to close the margin but the Gators held, with Stefan Zapata coming up with a key pass breakup.
“We go fast. That’s our MO,” Wachtel said.
Pensyl spread out his throws, with Liam Heaney catching the most passes (six for 62 yards), and Ethan Weilant (4-40) and Kamal Wells (3-44) also contributing. And Pensyl’s line gave him all the time he needed, allowing no sacks. But tackle Josh Gaulden did injure his left knee.
Mitchell alternated between Schneider and Alec Lambert at quarterback. Lambert completed one pass and was the victim of all three Gator sacks. Schneider finished 4-for-10 for 101 yards, and had a 53-yard touchdown to Zack Rapaport right before halftime wiped out for offensive pass interference.
The only time Pensyl was pressured, he fumbled the ball — but Tandy scooped it up and turned a big loss into a 3-yard gain.
“My goal is to score every time I touch the ball,” he said.