ST. PETERSBURG — Friday night lights sputtered to life at the start of the Dixie Hollins-Osceola game, but running backs Jamil Morris and Quadarius Patterson couldn't be stopped in a 48-31 Warriors win.
"I just look at the end zone and say, 'That's my home,' " Patterson said.
Dixie Hollins clinched a 14-0 lead with quick touchdowns from juniors Marcus Smith and Davontae Harrington in the first quarter.
But the Warriors' momentum picked up after seizing chucks of rushing yardage. Osceola rushed more than 60 yards for a first touchdown, including 27 from Morris.
Quarterback Ryan Allen broke through the Rebel defense for 16 yards, setting up Morris for a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
"We've just got to make plays and set our offense up the way we can," Allen said. "That is our offensive line. They're working as hard as we are every play."
The Warriors and Rebels took turns pounding offenses with focused rushing games.
The Warriors grew aggressive after recovering a kickoff at the Dixie Hollins' 30-yard line toward the end of the first quarter. They would go on to score again seconds into the second quarter.
"The kickoff where we recovered, that turned the momentum," coach George Palmer said. "We've got a rhythm going where we're getting chunks of yardage and we're able to mix in a couple of passes.
"That momentum carried us through."
Amanda Starling, Times correspondent