SEMINOLE — This could be interesting.
East Lake unhitched the training wheels from its new up-tempo offense and took it for a spin Friday night at Osceola High.
Three quarters and 38 points later, Eagles players and coaches seemed pretty pleased with their offseason progress. East Lake led 38-14 prior to junior varsity players taking over for the final quarter, eventually beating the Warriors 54-14.
“Overall I thought we played pretty well,” Eagles coach Bob Hudson said. “I thought for putting the offense in three weeks ago it was pretty effective.”
For a team with expectations as lofty as East Lake's, “pretty effective” equated to scoring points on all six varsity possessions Friday, including five touchdowns. Counting JV, the Eagles scored on its first eight opportunities spanning well into the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Jake Hudson appeared comfortable during his two quarters of action, working through progressions and successfully hitting 13 of 15 targets for 206 yards and three touchdowns.
“We had to switch it up from last year,” the rising senior said of the playbook shift. “We can't just hold up, we have to be a little more fast-paced. That's what we've been working on and I think it worked out pretty well. The whole offense really likes it and they're all starting to get comfortable with it now.”
Agreeing with that assessment was Hudson's top target, receiver George Campbell. The 6-foot-5 standout grabbed five passes for 106 yards and two scores Friday. One of those TDs went for 62 yards when Campbell found a hole in Osceola's coverage and Hudson hit him streaking down the middle.
“We've been working in the spring on the no-huddle and just trying to keep the up-tempo game going," Campbell said. "We're starting to perfect it a little bit out here and the connection between the receivers and quarterbacks was good tonight.”
Hudson hit five different receivers during his two quarters calling the plays, something his head-coach father said may be a familiar sight on the stat sheet this fall given the offense's flexibility.
“I thought Jake did a pretty good job of making his reads,” Coach Hudson said. “We have options off everything. Every play he has anywhere from three to five choices of what to do with the ball. So we're putting a lot in the kids' hands.”
Rising senior tight end Tervor Okuniewski snared Jake Hudson's first touchdown pass with 4:36 left in the opening quarter. That score staked East Lake out to a quick 14-0 lead and came after running back Drew Cuoto capped the Eagles' opening drive with a 1-yard run.
Despite the lopsided score, Friday night wasn't a complete loss for Osceola. The run-heavy Warriors piled up 188 rushing yards over the first three quarters and mounted a few impressive drives.
Before East Lake pulled away for good, Osceola cut the Eagles' lead to 14-7 by engineering a 17-play, 80-yard march, punctuated by Nick Shytle's 2-yard burst up the middle.
Bronson Lynch (71 yards) and Wilan Harvey (64 yards, TD) led the Warriors on the ground.
East Lake running back Fredric Frierson paced the varsity backfield with 48 yards on seven third-quarter carries. Frierson's younger brother, Cedric, then took over in the fourth and broke off touchdown runs of 7 and 32 yards.
Backup Eagles quarterback Bobby Goldinak tossed a 24-yard scoring pass to Zach Jarman after the third quarter's first snap. Cuoto gave East Lake that outstanding field position by returning the kickoff 69 yards.
Jarman completed all four of his passes for 51 yards.
Other Eagles stepping up on defense or special teams were Dylan Renaker (turnover-on-downs tackle), Christian Panduro (sack), Jonathan Holley (blocked field goal), Philip Balikowski (fumble recovery) and Elijah Green (interception).
ELHS - 14 - 14 - 10 - 16 --- 54
OHS - 0 - 7 - 7 - 0 --- 14