LECANTO — Hernando didn't want to give an improved Lecanto squad any room for hope on Friday.
So the Leopards overwhelmed the Panthers with a 28-0 insurmountable first-quarter lead en route to a 35-7 defeat.
Hernando (2-0) returned the opening kickoff 40 yards to the Panther' 31-yard line, setting the stage for a series of excellent special teams and defensive plays that helped to shorten the field for the offense. Junior running back DeMarcus Maner then ran a sweep right for a 26-yard score on the second play.
Sophomore linebacker Robert Hill Bronson blocked a Panthers punt on the ensuing Lecanto possession, allowing the offense to take over on the Panthers' 34.
Hernando fullback Zach Sullivan, only a freshman, then ran for a 35-yard touchdown on an inside counter play, pushing the Leopards lead to 14-0 only two minutes into play.
A short punt later in the quarter gave the ball to the Leopards on the Lecanto 27. Leopard quarterback Tyrail Hawkins took advantage of the field position with a 1-yard sneak into the end zone.
Junior defensive tackle Malcom Hudson blocked another Panthers punt and recovered the ball at the Lecanto 23 with under two minutes remaining in the first quarter. Hernando running back Alvin Delaine then bolted outside on a sweep run for a 12-yard score to give his team their 28-0 first quarter advantage.
"The punt block is something we've worked a lot on in practice and it was nice to see it happen in a game tonight," said Hernando coach John Palmer.
Delaine added another score in the second quarter when he intercepted a pass at the 12 and ran 88 yards for a score.
Hernando held the Panthers to 100 yards of total offense.