BROOKSVILLE — Friday night's homecoming game against Lecanto could have been as a trap game for Central, but the Bears were focused and seemed to be sending a message that they are contenders.
Central, despite a season-high in penalties, destroyed the visiting Panthers 46-8 in front of a packed Bear Den Stadium.
The crowd spent most of the time on its feet as big plays were the order of the night for Cliff Lohrey's squad.
After Austin Forte's 2-yard touchdown run opened the scoring early in the first quarter, each of the Bears' six other trips to the endzone was from 25 yards out or more.
The big play star of the game for Central (3-2) was wide receiver Steven Read.
Read, also the punt and kick returner, was all over the field in the first half and caught touchdowns passes of 25 yards and 36 yards from Central quarterback Dallas Waugh.
Waugh finished 7-of-13 for 157 yards and three touchdowns in only one half of play. Read accounted for 207 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.
"We definitely have some guys who are growing up quickly," Lohrey said.
"This week it was Steven and Dallas, but every week, we have a bunch of guys who are capable of making plays."
The home crowd was deflated momentarily when Lecanto (1-4) scored its lone touchdown on a 96-yard kickoff return by Vincent Armstrong, but Read recharged the stadium — and the sideline — with a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the very next play.
Those big plays offset 12 penalties for 108 yards, uncharacteristic of a Central team. The miscues were masked by the big play ability of the Bears and the nearly as high penalty total for Lecanto (nine penalties, 65 yards).