BROOKSVILLE — With its seventh consecutive victory, Hernando capped off its regular season in style Friday night at home.
The Leopards, who will have almost two weeks off before hosting a first-round state playoff contest, cruised to a 41-14 win over Mitchell.
Hernando (8-2) was led by the rushing combination of Tyrail Hawkins (14 carries, 148 yards, two touchdowns) and Marqui Redding (12 carries, 165 yards, two touchdowns).
On the first offensive play from scrimmage, Redding broke an 88-yard touchdown run that gave the Leopards a lead they would never relinquish. As Redding slowed down a bit, Hawkins began to burn up chunks of yardage. The junior concluded the schedule with 1,208 yards, averaging 10.6 per carry.
"Tyrail has had a great season, but we saw some good moves in the open field from Marqui tonight, too," Hernando coach John Palmer said. "Those two guys have a lot of explosion."
The defense for the Leopards also stepped up, accruing four sacks despite playing their first game as a unit without star linebacker Zach Pritz. The senior is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.
The final sack from Richard Hudson knocked out Mitchell quarterback Spencer Whittaker in the fourth quarter, the second consecutive week that the Hernando defense has knocked out the quarterback.
"Any time you get a lot of pressure on the ball, you are going to see some hard hits," Palmer said. "We work so hard emphasizing getting all of our hats to the ball, and they have done a good job of that lately."
After a fast start to the season, the Mustangs (5-5) dropped five of seven to end longtime coach Scott Schmitz's first year back at the helm after a hiatus.