The weather made things sloppy, but Lakewood Ranch's defense held firm.
At the end of a drenched mess of a Senior Night game, the Lakewood Ranch High football team gave its head coach a Gatorade bath.
"It was cold," coach Rashad West said. "At least it's been pouring for the last hour and a half. I was already wet."
The Mustangs (5-2) pushed through the night's heavy rainfall with a strong defensive effort and crafty play calling. It was enough to squeak by Dixie Hollins High (6-2) 13-6.
Senior wideout Michael Cucci accounted for both of Lakewood Ranch's touchdowns, catching one from sophomore quarterback Cameron Madison on a third quarter red zone crossing route and scoring the other on a well-executed, 60-yard fake punt run a few possessions later.
That was all the Mustangs defense needed. Dixie Hollins scored its only points by recovering a snap that went into Lakewood Ranch's end zone on a second quarter punt attempt. The Rebels offense was held scoreless, stalling out with multiple turnovers on downs in Mustangs territory. Like he has all season, West credited defensive coordinator Cody Montgomery with getting his unit ready to play.
West said the rain made things tough for both teams to execute. A win is a win, though, and West said he was happy that the senior class got to end their home careers with a victory.
The game was the only East County contest of the evening. Braden River High and The Out-of-Door Academy both had scheduled bye weeks.