A big kickoff return set the tone right from the start for the young, energetic Coral Shores Hurricanes varsity football team. Stout defensive play, multiple turnovers and productivity on the offensive side of the ball led the Canes, to secure their first victory of the season at home against the Northwest Christian Eagles, 30-14, on Sept. 6.
With junior Zak Filpes returning the opening kickoff to the Eagles’ 35-yard line, it didn’t take long for the Canes to hit pay dirt with junior running back Lucas Dennis punching it in from 10 yards out on the opening drive. Dennis finished the game just a yard shy of 100 yards.
The offense continued to click toward the end of the first quarter as sophomore quarterback Brian Lesko scampered in from 10 yards out to make the score, 14-0. With another run-in by Lesko in the second quarter, the Canes entered halftime up 21-6.
Turnovers was the story in the second and third quarters as the Canes came away with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. The defense was led by the aggressive junior linebacker Abel Silva, senior outside linebacker Gage Denis, who collected an interception, junior defensive back Daniel Pease, who intercepted a pass, senior backer Erick Erickson, who collected a fumble, and senior defensive end Hunter Slate, who had a sack.
“It definitely gave us a little breathe of fresh air,” coach Alphonso Bryant told the Weekly following the victory. “We’ve been on that end for two whole weeks. Just to get it on our side, it feels really remarkable. I’m so excited for our kids.”
The game was all but over following freshman running back Chris Cooper’s 15-yard touchdown run. Overall, Bryant said, he’s excited the team was able to come out and perform in front of packed bleachers.
“They’re happy and hopefully this kickstarts a lot of winning and success,” he said. “Offensively, we found a rhythm and we found some things I feel can work for us, but we just have to continue to get better. Defensively, we’re in positions. We just have to continue to learn how to tackle. Other than that, I think we’re great. Special teams, we just got to get a little better in some areas.”
Bryant also expressed his praise for the quarterback duo of Lesko and freshman Joel Sacerio.
“They did a very good job of managing the game tonight and I’m very proud of them,” he said.
Up next for the Canes (1-2) are the Westminster Christian Warriors, (1-2) on Friday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. at Coral Shores. Coaching the Warriors is Ed Holly, former Canes coach. Bryant, who coached under Holly for a number of years, said Holly will have his team ready to go.
“He knows me and I know him. It’s going to be a very good opportunity and a great match, and I’m looking forward to it,” Bryant said.