BROOKSVILLE — Somewhere among all of Central's fumbles and Alvin Delaine's big night on the ground for the Leopards, new Hernando coach John Palmer earned his first victory for his alma mater.
The much-anticipated arrival of Palmer, who boasts a state title, was not a disappointment for Hernando fans as the Leopards downed county rival Central in Friday's opener 16-7.
Delaine led the charge for Hernando (1-0) with a workmanlike effort. The sophomore tailback carried 24 times for 133 yards and scored both of his team's touchdowns. In his first game in a new offensive system, Delaine looked strong.
"Alvin's a gifted back," Palmer said. "The goal of our (coaching) staff is to find as many ways as possible to get him the ball."
Hernando has a reputation for being a talented team without a grasp on fundamentals in recent years, but it was Central (0-1) that struggled with turnovers. The Bears fumbled five times and lost four of them, while the Leopards didn't turn the ball over.
Senior tailback and first-year starter Austin Forte was a bright spot for the Bears. Forte gained 110 yards on 27 carries with Central's lone score. The rest of the offense was stuck in reverse on the ground, losing 17 yards on 12 carries.