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VENICE, Fla. - Led by a big night from senior quarterback Ryan Browne, as well as running back Damarion Escort, Venice rolled to a 49-7 victory over West Orange in a FHSAA Class 8A football regional final Friday night.

Coming into the game, the host Indians (12-1) were averaging 55.5 points per game during their postseason run. The offense sure didn’t disappoint. 

However, the Indians’ opening drive did not start the way they anticipated as they fumbled on their third offensive play of the night. West Orange (11-2) capitalized on the turnover, which was capped off on a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Huff to South Florida commit Eddie Kelly to give the visiting Warriors an early 7-0 lead.

It would not take long for the host Indians to get on the board, as senior running back Omari Hayes tied the score on a 51-yard touchdown run. 

Early in the second quarter, the Indians grabbed their first lead of the night at 14-7, on a 4-yard run by Escort. On the final play of the first half, Browne connected with senior wide receiver Jayshon Platt on a 36-yard heave for his first touchdown pass of the night, to give the Indians a 21-7 lead heading into the locker room.

“After the opening quarter, I thought we played well in all phases of the game,” said Venice head coach John Peacock.

In the first half, the Indians forced three turnovers, with two of them resulting in scoring drives.

The host Indians were in complete control in the second half, as they continued to pour it on. Following a 73-yard interception return by junior 4-star defensive back Elliot Washington II, Hayes scored his second rushing touchdown of the night to push their lead to 28-7 at the midway point of the third quarter. The score remained the same heading into the final quarter of play.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Escort added on with his second rushing touchdown of the night to extend the lead to 35-7. Following multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against the Warriors, the Indians offense showed no mercy, as they capped off their sixth touchdown of the night, on a 14-yard run by sophomore running back Alvin Johnson.

After the touchdown by Johnson, the Warriors were called for three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, with one of them resulting in an ejection. Freshman running back Jamarice Wilder sealed the deal for the Indians, as he scored a rushing touchdown from 2 yards out, which ended up being the final play of the game.

What’s next for Venice?

They’ll host Miami Columbus (9-3) in the Class 8A State Semifinals next t Friday at 7:30 p.m.

What’s next for West Orange?

Their season finishes with an 11-2 record.


Scoring Summary

WO- Eddie Kelly 4-yard reception from Tyler Huff. Kick good: 7-0 WO- 9:20/1Q

Venice- Omari Hayes 51-yard run. Kick good: 7-7- 6:04/1Q

Venice- Damarion Escort 4-yard run. Kick good: 14-7 VEN- 11:11/2Q

Venice- Jayshon Platt 36-yard reception from Ryan Browne. Kick good: 21-7 VEN- 0:00/2Q

Venice- Omari Hayes 5-yard run. Kick good: 28-7 VEN- 5:48/3Q

Venice- Damarion Escort 3-yard run. Kick good: 35-7 VEN- 11:30/4Q

Venice- Alvin Johnson 14-yard run. Kick good: 42-7 VEN- 5:43/4Q

Venice- Jamarice Wilder 2-yard run. Kick good: 49-7 VEN- 2:30/4Q

Box Score 1 2 3 4

West Orange7 0 0 0

Venice 7 14 7 21