SARASOTA — On one hand, last Friday’s non-district game against St. Pete Shorecrest Prep didn’t mean much.
It didn’t impact the district standings or increase the Thunder’s chances of reaching the state playoffs. For all intents and purposes, it was just another game on ODA’s schedule.
But on the other hand, it was the perfect game to prepare the Thunder for what lies ahead.
On Oct. 16, ODA handled Shorecrest Prep with ease, routing the Chargers 48-6. With the win, the Thunder improved their record to 6-1, while the Chargers fell to 1-6 on the season.
ODA took the lead in the first quarter when sophomore quarterback Brian Ragone connected with his older brother, Chris, for a 31-yard touchdown. The Thunder added to their lead in the second quarterback when senior running back AJ Strong found the end zone on runs of 1 and 47 yards, giving ODA a 21-0 halftime lead.
Chris Ragone hauled in a 38-yard pass from Evan Wilson in the third quarter and a 23-yard pass from Brian Ragone in the fourth quarter. Senior tight end Jamie Onufrak added to ODA’s lead on a 23-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter and J.R. Crosby scored the team’s final points of the night on a 38-yard run.
Brian Ragone threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns, and Chris Ragone caught six passes for 190 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Strong rushed for 93 yards on the ground and two scores.
Defensively, Crosby recorded five tackles and a sack and Ryan Kaminski had an interception.
During the game, ODA was able to rotate several players in and out of the game, allowing the Thunder to make some improvements and strengthen its depth chart, which could prove beneficial for ODA as it prepares to host Bradenton Christian School tomorrow night in the school’s Homecoming game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Both ODA and Bradenton Christian sit a perfect 1-0 in the Class 1B-District 6 standings. The Panthers (7-0) are coming off a 32-7 victory over Calvary Christian. The winner of Oct. 23's rivalry showdown will take the lead in the district and will improve their chances of earning a playoff berth.
Through six games, the Thunder has outscored its opponents 169-93. ODA will need strong performances from Brian Ragone, Chris Ragone and Strong. Defensively, ODA will look to contain Bradenton Christian dual quarterbacks Sean McCarthy and Myles Braxton-Johnson who have combined for nearly 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season.
“We need to make sure that we remain focused and control our emotions, as they will be running high,” ODA coach Brett Timmons said. “The strength of this team has been its ability to handle adversity.”
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