WESLEY CHAPEL — Despite coming off a season-opening blowout win over nearby rival Wiregrass Ranch, Wesley Chapel coach Ben Alford had some concerns heading into Friday's home opener against Orlando First Academy.
The Royals, 8-3 last season and with 16 returning starters, also were coming off a lopsided win. Plus, Alford noted, the Wildcats did not have a good week of practice and were missing Daquan Caesar, who rushed for a career-high 167 yards last week but sat out for disciplinary reasons; and defensive back Chris Ayers, who was ejected from the Wiregrass Ranch game.
It all led to a 45-0 loss with a running clock kicking in for the fourth quarter.
"That's why we play a team like that, really" Alford said. "Last week they were on cloud nine. They thought they were world-beaters. No loss is ever good. That's why I'm hoping they'll take something from this and bounce back."
The Wildcat defense was no match for the Royals' ball-control offense that totaled 344 yards including 302 on the ground. Lloyd Hylton ran for a game-high 147 yards and three touchdowns.
By comparison, Wesley Chapel netted a meager 77 yards with quarterback Ty Tanner accounting for most of them. Tanner scrambled for 24 yards and passed for 19.
"He's tough, man," Alford said of Tanner, whose 18-yard scramble in the third quarter marked the Wildcats' longest play from scrimmage.
It also allowed the home team to cross midfield for the only time in the game.
"Remember how that feels," Alford told his players afterward. "You're better than that."