Stringer finished strong, but the 47-30 final score does not tell the full story.
Leake County capitalized on the only costly fumble by Stringer late in the third quarter that cut the Red Devil lead to three points, 33-30, before Stringer closed out the Gators in the remaining minutes.
Stringer never seemed to be able to pull away from Leake County throughout the contest as they were missing a few starters to injuries, while playing sloppy at times, such as 35 yards in penalties on three consecutive plays at one point in the contest.
Head coach Cascio was not pleased with the overall performance. “We have no excuses. We had a lot of penalties and costly fumbles. They had some kids that could run, man. When they get the edge, we had a hard time tracking them down."
There were bright spots as Omar Bridges shined in his first start as quarterback. He had three touchdown passes, one to Nick Arender, and two to Landen Ducksworth. Jeremiah Williams, Jojo Sampson, Bridges, and Duckworth each had a rushing touchdown.
Cascio recognized some of those better performances of the night saying, “Omar had two days of work at quarterback and ran the offense like it was supposed to be run. Jojo had a good night. He ran well at fullback. He had to play tailback and played defense all night long. That’s Stringer football. We play both sides all night long.”
Bridges had a stellar performance as the signal-caller, but if this game made it on Sportcenter tonight, Ducksworth would have his highlight show. He scooped a fumble and scampered 32 yards before he was brought down. He had three acrobatic catches he ripped from defenders for 99 yards. Two of those were for scores. He also put the final touchdown to put the game away with seconds left.
“Ducksworth had three gigantic catches in heavy coverage. He just took the ball away from everybody, and just came to play tonight,” noted Cascio.
Stringer could have jumped in a victory formation to end the game with a 10-point victory, but in 2019, Stringer missed the playoffs that boiled down to point differential.
That was something coach Cascio is not willing to repeat in 2020.
“Our destiny is in our hands. If we win out, I know for a fact we are number two in the region. Our destiny is in our own hands. I’m not gonna leave it in the hands of anyone or lose out on points, and that is one of the reasons we scored with seconds left. That was fresh on my mind from last year.”
No doubt, Cascio must make his chess moves to position himself for a better post-season bracket, but Sebastopol awaits the Red Devils next week. Stringer defeated Sebastopol 42-7 in 2019.
Cascio spoke on the challenge ahead. “We must play Red Devil football to beat Sebastopol up there. It’s fresh on their minds what we did to them last year. They are a good ball team. We have to bow-up and limit mistakes, limit penalties, and stop the turnovers.” After a 47-30 victory over Leake County, Stringer faces their toughest region test left on their schedule next week.