GULFPORT — Once again, the tortoise beat the hare.
When it came to battling Boca Ciega’s hurry-up, no-huddle, pass-heavy offense on Friday night, Osceola found the perfect antidote — a patient, pounding, powerful ground attack.
“We’ve been working on that because discipline cost us in the last two games,” said senior running back Jamil Morris, who was the focal point of the Osceola attack.
Working almost exclusively between the tackles in the Warriors’ double-wing attack, Morris bulled his way to 114 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. His work combined with the outside flash of Wilan Harvey (10 carries, 155 yards, one touchdown) and the grunt work of Quadarius Patterson (11 carries, 69 yards, one touchdown) allowed the visitors to rack up 30½ minutes of possession time.
“We controlled the ball for a high amount of time,” Morris said. “We just kept driving slowly but surely down the field and getting into the end zone every time.”
Boca Ciega (1-3, 0-1 Class 5A, District 8) didn’t do itself any favors, committing three turnovers that led to 13 Osceola points while committing six offside penalties on defense and 13 penalties overall for 80 yards.
Quarterback Derrick Cook was the standout for the Pirates (1-3, 0-1), accounting for both touchdowns.
He connected on his last 11 passes to finish 21-of-31 for 319 yards. He also threw for a touchdown and ran for one.