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Football: Lecanto 34, Central 24

With leading scorer Contae Cason out for almost a half, the Bears can’t play catchup.
Football teams across Tampa Bay were in action Friday night.
Football teams across Tampa Bay were in action Friday night. [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]
Published Sep. 14, 2019

BROOKSVILLE — Coming into Friday night, if there was anything for Central coaches to worry about, it was avoiding injuries. A loss to Lecanto wouldn’t be of too much concern since the Panthers are no longer a district foe.

But the Bears may need to worry about more than injuries.

With Central (3-1) trailing 28-18 in the third quarter, running back Contae Cason — the nation’s leader in touchdowns with 17 total coming into the game, according to MaxPreps — was ejected for allegedly throwing a punch after the whistle.

“We’re gonna check film to see what the officials saw. Personally I did not see the play happen, but several people say they don’t know what number it was," first-year Central coach Robert Walden said.

Depending on the officials’ report, Cason may miss time in future games.

Without Cason’s quick-strike ability, Central couldn’t get back into the game fast enough. Seven plays after the ejection, Lecanto (2-2) struck for a 60-yard touchdown pass.

It took the Bears 13 plays to score on the ensuing drive — capped by Austin Jackson’s 4-yard plunge into the end zone to cut the lead to 34-24. But it also drained six minutes of game clock, then Lecanto recovered the onside kick.

The Bears could never really figure out how to stop the Panthers’ well-balanced attack. Lecanto finished with 440 total yards (285 passing, 155 rushing). Cason still compiled 232 yards on 18 carries for three touchdowns.

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