LAKEWOOD RANCH — Lakewood Ranch High junior quarterback Chad Rex didn’t know what it was like to beat Southeast.
Rex was in the eighth grade the last time the Mustangs beat the Seminoles. His senior teammates were freshman — the vast majority of which didn’t suit up on varsity until well after the dust had settled.
But Rex and his teammates were hoping this year would be different. They wanted to make a statement.
And, so, they turned to their signal caller, who didn’t make his varsity debut until last season en route to leading the Mustangs to a 5-5 season.
Trailing 13-0 midway through the first quarter, Rex stepped up and took control —lighting up the field and putting on a performance that left many Mustangs fans in awe.
Rex accounted for six touchdowns, including five rushing touchdowns, to lead Lakewood to a 55-34 victory over Southeast Aug. 31 in the season opener for both teams.
“It was a big (win),” Rex says. “Everyone projected us to lose, and we wanted to make a statement.”
Rex scored on runs of 20, 2 and 1 yard in the first half to give Lakewood a 21-20 lead. He added runs of 1 and 2 yards in the second half and also connected with Cameron Pearcey for a 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter to secure the victory for the Mustangs.
It was the most touchdowns Rex had scored in a single game.
Rex finished with 118 yards on the ground. He also completed 13-of-15 passes for 192 yards.
“It was good (to get the running game going) because we wanted to get a good night, so we can keep going during the season,” Rex says.
Over the past year, Rex has taken on a leadership role by doing whatever it takes to help the Mustangs win — even if that means losing a helmet or taking a few hard hits, as was the case Friday night.
“Chad is a great kid,” coach Shawn Trent says. “I wish he would get down sometimes and not take all the hits that he takes; but as long as he keeps getting up, it’s all good.”
And, although Rex admits he doesn’t play quarterback simply for the notoriety, there’s no denying all eyes were on him when walked off the field last Friday night.
Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].