It was homecoming night at Island Coast, and with less than a minute gone in the first quarter everyone knew Cypress Lake would not ruin the party.
The Gators jumped out to 20-0 lead within 40 seconds and never looked back, running away to a 64-6 victory.
Island Coast started quickly when junior Korey Murphy took the opening kickoff at the 20-yard line, broke through a couple of tackles and raced down the left sideline for an 80-yard TD return. Quinn Bourque added the extra point for a 7-0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Cypress could not handle the kick cleanly and the Gators had the ball at the Panthers' 32.
Junior tailback Zelan Lambert accounted for all the yards, and on the third play of the drive went in from three yards out. Again Bourque added the kick and the hosts were up 14-0. The Panthers then took the kick to their own 24, but on the first play QB Kyndall Douglas couldn't find the snap and the ball was recovered by the Gators.
Once again it was Lambert, who on the second of consecutive carries, burst untouched for his second score. The point-after by Bourque made it 21-0 with 11:20 remaining in the first quarter.
The Panthers offense stalled and te Gators took over at the 46. Bourque and Lambert rushed for big gains before Teddy Mitchell got on the scoreboard with a six-yard run through the heart of the defense.
The teams traded interceptions before Island Coast reminded everyone that they had a passing attack to complement the ground game as Bourque connected with James Washington in the front of the end zone for a 17-yard score and 35-0 lead.
Another fumble by the Panthers gave the Gators the ball at the 46. Bourque went to work finding senior Christian Banasiak for a 43-yard gain. Bourque connected with Christian Diaz for a three-yard score and a 42-0 lead. The final score of the half came when Bourque found Murphy in the flats for an eight-yard TD play and 49-0 halftime lead.
A healthy dose of Trey Boyd and Bourque brought about the next Gators score. Bourque kept the ball on the option read, and neatly ran around left end for his first rushing and third touchdown overall. Bourque added his own extra point for a 56-0 lead.
The fourth quarter opened with Gators coach Joe Bowen making sure everyone saw action. Junior Joey Lantz replaced Bourque at quarterback and promptly ran the Gators offense to the Panthers' 5-yard line before keeping the ball himself and diving over for the touchdown. An apparent bad snap forced Murphy to pick up the ball and power over the left side for a two-point conversion.
"They've practiced hard all week and it's tough to reign them in, they want to win," said Bowen.
The Gators did not attempt a pass the entire second half.
The district championship is on the line next week as Dunbar visits Island Coast, and Bowen is well aware that complacency could be an issue following some easy victories.
"It was important to keep things going on both sides of the ball as we need to be prepared for next week," he said.
Meanwhile, Cypress Lake hosts winless Mariner.
Cypress Lake 0 0 0 6 - 6
Island Coast 35 14 7 8 - 64
IC - Murphy 85 kickoff return ( Bourque kick)
IC - Lambert 4 run (Bourque kick)
IC - Lambert 3 run (Bourque kick)
IC - Mitchell 6 run (Bourque kick)
IC - Washington 17 pass from Bourque (Bourque kick)
IC - Diaz 3 pass from Bourque (Bourque kick)
IC - Murply 7 pass from Bourque (Bourque kick)
IC - Bourque 8 run (Bourque kick)
IC - Lantz 5 run (Murphy run)
CL - Moore 52 run (conv failed)