SEMINOLE — With a playoff berth on the line Friday, Osceola fell to Bradenton Lakewood Ranch 35-28.
"We fought hard and kept coming back," Warriors coach George Palmer said. "We've struggled for a number of years, but we have good kids who work hard."
Osceola (3-6, 2-3 Class 6A, District 7) fumbled on its opening possession. And the Mustangs (5-4, 4-1) capitalized scoring on a quarterback sneak by Jeren Kowalewski.
The Warriors came right back with an 11-play, 70-yard drive to even the score, Daviel Clarke running it in from 1 yard out.
The teams traded scores in the second quarter. Osceola forced a three-and-out, and Alex Cortez's 50-yard run preceded Andrew Matyk's 26-yard touchdown pass to Austin Lawrence.
Mac Hathaway scored on a 29-yard run, and Greg Funk hauled in a 4-yard pass for the Mustangs and Clarke added his second 1-yard touchdown run of the night to keep the score tied at halftime.
In the second half, the Mustangs' offensive line took over. Hathaway did most of the damage on the ground, scoring from 15 yards to give Lakewood Ranch a 28-21 lead.
Osceola tied it when Kyle Brittain returned the ensuing kickoff 66 yards for a touchdown.
The Mustangs responded with another strong drive on the ground, and Hathaway scored his third touchdown of the night to give Lakewood Ranch a 35-28 lead.
"Their O-line took control in the second half," Palmer said. "They had those two long drives, and we lost our offensive rhythm."
The Warriors mounted two drives in the fourth quarter but lost a fumble and took a sack as time expired.
"We did a great job with the hurry-up to get in position to win," Palmer said. "We just came up short."