LAKELAND - Homecoming is supposed to be reserved for a home team victory. That wasn't true for Tenoroc on Friday night.
Sebring rolled into Lakeland and throttled the Titans by a score of 42-7, improving its record to 5-1 while Tenoroc dropped to 0-6.
"We knew coming in what we needed to do," said Sebring coach LaVaar Scott. "And after a slow start, we really took control of the game."
The Blue Streaks got off to a shaky start on offense. The first two snaps were fumbled, with the second being recovered by the Titans.
Taking over in Sebring territory, Tenoroc's drive stalled near the Streaks 30-yard line and the Titans settled for a field goal attempt. But Sebring's defensive unit burst through the Titans offensive line and managed to tip the ball just enough that it sailed wide of the uprights.
While Sebring continued to struggle on offense, a handful of sacks kept Tenoroc at bay. Forcing another Titans punt, Duran Randolph took the ball and raced 45 yards up field for a touchdown to put the Streaks up 7-0.
Sending the next kickoff out of bounds gave Tenoroc a slight advantage, but another sack that forced a fumble gave the Streaks the ball deep in Titans territory.
Breon Jones took advantage of the great field position, carrying the ball into the end zone for a 13-yard score to put Sebring up 14-0.
Sebring closed out the first quarter with another touchdown, when Giovanni Jenkins broke free for a 63-yard score.
"Our guys really understood what their job was tonight," Scott said. "They knew we needed to take care of business and get a win."
The Streaks continued their offensive onslaught in the second quarter. Scott alternated between Connor Cook and Jair Watson at quarterback, but it seemed to have little effect on Sebring's rhythm.
The Streaks continued to chew up yardage, mixing in a few passes to Randolph with their usual running plays to Jenkins.
A 70-yard touchdown off of a play-action pass from Watson to John Berry capped off another scoring drive to put Sebring up 28-0.
Tenoroc tried to respond with a flurry of passes, but with Dylan Wright-Sirmon finding himself on the turf after nearly every snap, it was another quick three-and-out for the Titans.
Sebring officially put the game out of reach with another touchdown before the half.
With Cook under center, he dropped a short pass off to Ladante Harris, who proceeded to scamper up field and break a handful of tackles before switching directions and racing across the field to beat a Titans defender into the corner of the end zone.
Receiving the kickoff to open the third quarter, the Streaks quickly drove downfield on the strength of three straight carries by Randolph, who scored his second touchdown of the game on a five-yard carry to give the Streaks a 42-0 lead.
Desperately wanting a touchdown, Tenoroc came out pass-happy on its next possession.
Slinging the ball paid off, though, as Lucious Everett was able to get behind Sebring's Laurence Gilchrist on his route for a 35-yard catch.
Gilchrist's shoe-string tackle saved the touchdown pass, but a broken defensive play let Wright-Sirmon zip the ball to Nico Gallon, who managed to get one foot in before falling out of bounds to make it 42-7.
Despite giving up the shutout, Scott said he was pleased with the victory, especially considering he was able to rest some of his starters.
"Some of our guys were banged up, and they needed a game like this where they could get rested," he said. "We have to be healthy heading into the game against Winter Haven."
The Blue Devils have made life difficult for the Streaks over the last few seasons. Add in that the Class 6A-District 11 game has playoff implications and it's arguably the game of the year for both teams.
And after Friday's victory, Scott noted that his team's mindset needs to change if Sebring wants to defeat Winter Haven.
"We came out tonight thinking too much about the Titans and what they were going to do," Scott said. "That's not what good teams do. They don't worry about everyone else; they only think about what they're doing and how to get better."