BROOKSVILLE — Hernando tried to slow the ball down and play smash-mouth football on a wet, muddy field on its way to a second victory against South Lake. That plan failed.
The Eagles' high-powered passing attack was successful from the first series as they won at Tom Fisher Stadium 27-13 on Friday night.
After a kickoff that pinned South Lake (2-0) inside its own 5, quarterback Chris White found a streaking Chad Lynn down the sideline for a 93-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring.
Undeterred, Hernando (1-1) struck back, sticking to its game plan. The Leopards went on a 15-play, 74-yard drive that took almost eight minutes off the clock. Marqui Redding capped it off with a 4-yard touchdown run to tie. Another long drive netted Hernando a 6-yard touchdown run from Tyrail Hawkins, but the big-play ability of South Lake flashed again on a 57-yard pass from White to James Brooks and the score was tied at 13 going into the locker room.
"We beat ourselves out there," Hernando coach John Palmer said. "You can't give up points in the last two minutes of the half. It always comes back to haunt you."
The momentum seemed to shift as the Eagles were the only team to score in the second half. White (9-of-13, 267 yards, three touchdowns, one interception) led another drive in the third quarter that ended on a Chris Floyd run, then tossed a TD to P.J. Harris to finish off the Leopards.
A bright spot for the home team was the offensive output of Hawkins. For the second time in two weeks, he went over 100 yards rushing (17 carries, 107 yards, one touchdown) and caught five balls for 63 yards. In the end, the six fumbles, including two lost, was too much to overcome.
"(Hawkins' performance) is what we have to build on," Palmer said. "If we hold onto the football, we are a much better team. Give credit to South Lake. They did a great job."