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Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Defense leads Gators past Hudson

LAND O’ LAKES — The Gators have the county’s best offense.

However, their defense isn’t too shabby, either.

“That defense can fly,” Hudson coach Mark Kantor said. “I think they got guys coming off the sideline and playing — like they have 15 guys out there and we didn’t know.”

The Land O’ Lakes defense pitched its second shutout of the season and kicker Andy Dowler hit a career-high three field goals as the Gators downed Hudson 16-0 on Friday evening at John Benedetto Stadium.

With the win, the Gators improve to 6-0 for the first time since 2009.

“We’ll take a win any way we can get it, even if we’re not going to score on offense,” Gators coach Brian Wachtel said. “We’ve got some things to work out before next week, that’s for sure.”

On Friday, Land O’ Lakes faces crosstown and Class 6A-District 6 foe Sunlake (6-1) in a pivotal game that will make or break their seasons.

However, against Hudson (4-2), the Land O’ Lakes offense was shut down by Hudson.

“We were in this game because of our defense,” said LOL junior quarterback James Pensyl, who was 14-for-22 passing for 127 yards, but did not have a touchdown for the first time this season. “It was weird not throwing a touchdown pass, so hopefully that’s the last time, and especially not next week.”

The Gators got on the board thanks to Dowler’s first field goal, from 26 yards. Then defensive lineman Shaheed Salmon picked off a Joey Caruso shovel pass in the second quarter and returned it 32 yards for a 10-0 halftime lead.

On the third-quarter kickoff, Hudson recovered a muffed squib kick. But on fourth-and-goal from the 2, Noah Siegrist, who had just 46 yards on a game-high 20 carries, was stopped a yard short by the Gators.

“We had our heads screwed on from the first play and we all played hard on defense,” Salmon said.

Dowler hit two 39-yard field goals in the fourth quarter, making him 7-for-10 on the season.

“For a second I thought the second one wasn’t going to make it,” Dowler said. “And it feels good to go out there and help our team win.”

Gators running back Larenz Scroggins rushed for a game-high 100 yards on 17 carries.

Hudson 0 0 0 0 — 0

LOL 3 7 0 6 — 16

L — FG Dowler 26

L — Salmon 32 interception return (Dowler kick)

L — FG Dowler 39

L — FG Dowler 39

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