LECANTO — Land O’Lakes, which went 4-6 in 2012, capped an 8-2 2013 with an overtime win against Lecanto.
Senior Andy Dowler booted a 22-yard field goal to put the Gators up 38-35 in overtime. Then the Gators defense came up huge, stuffing Jonah Nightengale twice from the 2.
The Gators squandered a 35-6 lead as Lecanto (2-8) scored 29 unanswered points, culminated by Nightengale’s 1-yard run with 9:53 left in the fourth. The touchdown was set up by a snap over the head of Gators quarterback James Pensyl.
Pensyl threw four first-half touchdown passes. He connected on touchdowns of 54 and 41 yards to senior receiver Javin Tandy and touchdowns of 63 and 3 yards to senior tight end Liam Heaney.
Senior Shaheed Salmon added a 2-yard interception for a touchdown as he stepped in front of a check-down play. Salmon also picked off a Lecanto pass to negate a drive after a Pensyl interception was taken back to the Gators 15 with the score 35-28 in the third quarter.
The Panthers missed a 21-yard field goal with five seconds remaining in regulation, sending the game into overtime and giving the Gators new life.
“They worked really hard this year,” Gators coach Brian Wachtel said. “They had a successful season, and I’m glad they got the win.
“The senior class did a nice job as did the team, and I’m blessed to have great coaches that make the wheels turn.”