PLANT CITY — Armwood's defense dominated Durant, scoring two touchdowns of its own, as the Hawks demolished the Cougars 48-6 to open the regular season.
In the first half, while the offense managed 20 points, the Hawks' defense pitched a shutout, limiting Durant to 42 total yards.
Once the second half started, Armwood's defense took its turn creating points, scoring defensive touchdowns on consecutive possessions.
Kyle Gibson started it with a 25-yard interception return before Jordan Griffin scooped up a Durant fumble and returned it 10 yards for a touchdown to extend the Hawks' lead to 34-0 barely two minutes into the second half.
The Cougars offense totaled 114 yards in the game. Their only points came on the first play after an Armwood turnover. Quarterback Trey VanDerGrift was 6-for-14 for 16 yards and an interception.
Armwood's offense didn't exactly struggle, as coach Sean Callahan implored his team to move the ball consistently on the ground.
“It was probably one of our most physical games we've ever played,” Callahan said. “We wanted to be able to be able to run the ball against a team as big and physical as Durant. … I really didn't want to start throwing the ball a whole lot.
“I really want to get our offensive line going.”
Running back Craig Carrington led the way on the ground for the Hawks with 99 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Carrington was playing in his first game since 2011 due to ineligibility all of last season.
Though he couldn't play last season, Carrington said he only missed one practice last year, so Friday night's victory was a long time coming.
“There's no greater feeling, just knowing that you've worked with those boys, sweating,” Carrington said.
Armwood quarterback Noah Johnson was 6-for-11 for 65 yards and an interception, with Callahan admitting there may be an opening for backup Tyler Scott to challenge Johnson as the starter.
Scott completed his only pass of the night, and he carried the ball twice for 28 yards.
“I think Tyler is a good football player,” Callahan said. “I wanted to bring him in.
“I was hoping he would make a little bit of a statement. We've got a good situation there at quarterback.”