LAKE WORTH — For the second time in three weeks, the Gainesville Leopards defense went more than 47 minutes of game action without allowing a point, but in the final seconds, a second opponent dashed their shutout dreams.
Two weeks ago, Ardmore scored their only points with just 3 seconds remaining. On Friday, Lake Worth scored with just 11 seconds left in the game, but those would be the only points the Leopards will allow in a 28-7 victory that moved Gainesville’s record to 5-0.
Gainesville’s defense was stellar. They allowed only 120 yards of total offense including just 88 yards on the ground. They also forced two turnovers as Denzel Johnson came up with an interception and Zukari Long recovered a fumble.
Gainesville got on the scoreboard first as they drove 75 yards in just six plays. A 17-yard run by Danny Nipp got the drive started. Two pass plays from Johnson to David Moore totaled 28 more yards and Nipp finished the drive off with a 25-yard TD run. Hector Sagrero’s PAT kick made it 7-0 with 6:12 left in the first quarter.
The lead grew to 14-0 early in the second quarter when the Leopards took advantage of good field position after a Bullfrog punt.
Gainesville took over at the Lake Worth 27, but had to convert a fourth-and-10 to keep the drive alive. Johnson connected with Nipp on a 17-yard pass to move the ball to the 10. One play later, Johnson hit Moore in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown.
The Leopards had a chance to put more points on the board near the end of the half, but a 30-yard field goal was wide left, leaving it 14-0 at halftime.
As the second half began, the Leopard defense came up with a big play as Johnson tipped then intercepted a deep pass. Three plays later, Johnson hit Nipp on a 21-yard pass play to move the ball into Frog territory. Two plays after that, Adam Berryman took a handoff and scampered 38 yards for another touchdown to make it 21-0.
Gainesville scored again early in the fourth quarter, thanks in part to a fake punt. Demetrius Franklin took a direct snap from the punt formation and ran for 10 yards. Johnson then ran for 17 yards, followed by a 24-yard run by Berryman, who scored one play later from one yard out to make it 28-0 after the Sagrero PAT.
Lake Worth then used a 7-play, 48-yard drive against the Leopard second-team defense and scored on a 9-yard pass that made it 28-7.
Gainesville finished with 355 yards of total offense including 244 yards rushing and 111 passing.
Berryman led the way with 18 carries for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns. Nipp added 7 carries for 58 yards. Johnson was 6 of 11 passing for 111 yards and touchdown.
Gainesville will return home for the first time in four weeks as they host the Vernon Lions Oct. 5 for Homecoming.
LEOPARD NOTES: Gainesville is now 5-0 all-time against Lake Worth … Gainesville’s offense has been pretty consistent when it comes to scoring lately. The Leopards have scored 27, 28 and 28 points in their last three games … Friday’s game with Vernon will be the first chance for new Leopard head coach Keith Hall to face his former team. Hall coached Vernon from 2003 to 2009, compiling a record of 48-37 … Gainesville is 5-0 for the first time since 2005.