LAKEWOOD RANCH — It wasn’t pretty, and the game didn’t count, but it meant everything to a Lakewood Ranch offense that struggled all night.
Trailing all game, Ranch quarterback Chad Rex connected on an 11-yard touchdown pass with two minutes, 14 seconds left to give the host Mustangs a 6-5 victory over Brandon.
The winning drive started with 5:13 left when the Mustangs took the ball on their own 45 after a punt. Rex threw a 14-yard pass to Trevor Losada to give the Mustangs a first down on the Brandon 38. The senior quarterback then ran 17 yards to get the ball down to the 16. On a fourth and 5 from the 11, he hit Losada with the winner.
Lakewood Ranch coach Mick Koczersut had planned to play his JV team in the final quarter, but said Brandon didn’t bring any JV players so he stuck with his varsity.
Ranch opened the game with an up-tempo, no-huddle offense and moved the ball until Rex threw an interception, which led to a 37-yard Brandon field goal. In the second quarter Rex fumbled the ball in his own end zone and was forced to fall on it for a safety that gave Brandon a 5-0 halftime lead.