Bulldogs can clinch playoff berth by beating #Lake Nona
St. Cloud and Liberty put on quite a show Saturday in an explosive offensive show that matched two of the county’s best running backs in the Bulldogs’ Charles Robinson and the Liberty’s Markenzy Pierre.
Together, Pierre and Robinson rushed for more more than 500 yards and four touchdowns.
But, it was the passing of St. Cloud’s Colt Smith that made the difference as the Bulldogs (5-1, 3-0) remained undefeated in 7A-6 district play with a 41-26 win over Liberty (2-5, 0-3). The victory puts St. Cloud in the district driver’s seat with East River, a 36-35 winner over Lake Nona last week. Both teams are 3-0.
The Bulldogs can clinch a playoff berth Friday at Gannarelli Field when Lake Nona, 5-2 and 2-1, visits at 7:30 p.m. for a district showdown.
East River comes to St. Cloud on Oct. 28. The Bulldogs can win their second consecutive district championship by winning their next two games.
St. Cloud Coach Bryan Smart said that as challenging as facing Lake Nona will be on Friday, he is glad that his team won’t have to face Pierre, the Liberty senior, again.
“To be honest, I will be more than happy to see Markenzy graduate and take his talents to the next level,” he said.
Pierre, who finished with 292 yards on 33 carries, torched the Bulldogs for 208 of those yards in the first half and his 12-yard touchdown run late in the second period pulled the Chargers to within one at the half, 21-20.
Liberty took a lead in the second half when Pierre ripped off a 51-yard run and then scored from 12 yards out one play putting Liberty up, 26-21.
The lead would be short-lived.
After a 30-yard Seth Johnson kickoff return set them up at midfield, Smith needed just four plays to put the Bulldogs back in front as he hit Johnny Fritz on a 30-yard slant for a touchdown and a 28-26 advantage.
St. Cloud’s defense came up with a pair of stops before Jaylen Mallard and Robinson put the game away with a pair of long touchdowns covering 43 and 65 yards respectively.
Robinson almost matched Pierre’s totals in the game, toting the rock 27 times for 254 yards.
“We’re certainly happy to win the game and stay unbeaten in districts, but it’s never easy playing these guys,” Smart added. “You are always going to be in for a fight against Liberty.”
Smart said that the Bulldogs can make their season over the next two weeks.
“We are 5-1 and very happy about that, but it all comes down to Friday night at home against a great Lake Nona team,” he said. “We need a great week of preparation for these guys. They are well coached and can score in a hurry. This is a great challenge for us, and we will be ready.”
The Lions have one of the top quarterbacks in Central Florida in senior 6-2, 228-pounder Michael McFarlane He has thrown for 1,482 yards and nine TDs and rushed for 744 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Bulldogs quarterback Colt Smith ranks among Central Florida leaders with 1,538 yards passing and 12 touchdowns. The Bulldogs boast three of the county’s top four receivers in Seth Johnson (36-662, 3 TDs), Johnny Fritz (16-349, 4 TDs) and Brandon Taylor (18-312, 3 TDs). Robinson has rushed for 798 yards and eight touchdowns this season.