BRADENTON — Two seasons ago, Osceola went winless.
Last season, the Warriors were knocked out of playoff contention by Bradenton Lakewood Ranch. Friday, sitting in the same position, the Warriors reached the playoffs for the first time since 2006 with a 29-20 win.
"This is all the hard work paying off," quarterback Andrew Matyk said. "We were 0-10 one year, and now it's all coming together."
The Warriors scored on their first drive, going 68 yards on nine plays capped by Quadarius Patterson's 13-yard run.
Lakewood Ranch answered right back and added a two-point conversion to make the score 8-7.
Osceola again marched down the field, taking 16 plays to cover 75 yards. Again, Patterson scored, this time from a yard out. The Warriors went for two and converted to take a 15-8 lead.
The Warriors forced a three-and-out but gave the ball back after a drive stalled. The Mustangs scored just before halftime on a 19-yard run. But their conversion failed, and they trailed 15-14.
After a scoreless third, Osceola took over. After stopping Lakewood Ranch on fourth down, the Warriors used three plays to go 60 yards, including Austin Lawrence's 22-yard touchdown run.
The Warriors forced a three-an-out, and Matyk sealed it with an 11-yard touchdown run.
"I figured Coach would call it soon," Matyk said. "We had been setting it up all night."
The Mustangs scored on a hook-and-lateral but missed the conversion and did not see the ball again.
Said Warriors coach George Palmer: "It's nice when you set a goal at the beginning of the season and have to opportunity to make the playoffs."