LECANTO — Perhaps it’s a sign of progress that Seven Rivers Christian can win by three scores and still feel so disappointed.
But the Warriors weren’t too interested in putting a positive spin on their performance at Warrior Park on Friday night. The final scoreboard said they rolled to a 28-6 victory over Cornerstone Charter Academy. The mood around the team after the game told a different story.
“We played horribly. That was the worst we ever played,” Seven Rivers head coach Monty Vann said. “It was apathetic. It was piss poor. Couldn’t execute a thing. It was bad. It was bad all the way around, from quarterback play to line play, it was bad.
“There’s no excuses. We just played bad. We sucked it up and we need to grow up. Our guys are treating it like a loss. I said, ‘Don’t you dare treat this thing like a win. Don’t you dare celebrate this.’ It’s bad. It’s just bad football.”
Coming off a dominant 41-6 win over Trinity Christian last week, the Warriors (2-0) felt like a big favorite against the Ducks, who hadn’t played in a game since the end of last season when they finished 0-6. They didn’t play in the preseason or Week 1 due to COVID-19 issues.
Seven Rivers almost exclusively attempts onside kicks on kickoffs, and did so successfully to open the game. But the Warriors fumbled the ball away on the very first play from scrimmage, a sign of things to come.
Their second drive went 97 yards on nine plays, concluding with a 34-yard touchdown pass, a 5-yard out from Nehemiah Vann that Carmelo Cordero caught and ran down the right sideline.
Not until 2:46 left in the half did Seven Rivers finally score again, on a 2-yard quarterback keeper that Vann punched in on his second effort.
Brent Summers tacked on an 8-yard touchdown run at 4:50 in the third quarter, part of a night when he carried the ball 18 times for 138 yards. Nehemiah Vann connected with Mario Aguilera on a 4-yard scoring strike to make it 28-0 with 1:37 to go in the third.
The usually prolific passing attack of Seven Rivers was stymied for much of the night, though, with Vann completing 8 of 18 passes for 127 yards. At least three touchdowns for the Warriors were called back to due to penalties, as the team was flagged 12 times overall.
However, the Ducks had nowhere near enough firepower to take advantage. They were limited to 73 yards of total offense and attempted just two passes — one of them intercepted by Cordero on the final play of the first half.
The other was a trick play. Jon Luke Vantresca took the snap and found Ian Tirado open over the middle for a 16-yard touchdown pass as 6.8 seconds remained in the game.
“I think it’s good that these guys, performance-wise, they know it was bad,” Coach Vann said. “As you saw them walk off the field you could tell just by their body language, they knew they played a bad game. So we’ve got a lot to fix. We’re going to have a good week of practice.
“Here’s what I believe is the biggest thing to us losing this game — because to me, I treat it like a loss — we had no passion. We didn’t play for each other. We didn’t have passion for each other. And we’re treating it like a loss.”