Cypress Bay’s public address announcer played the theme from the TV series Welcome Back, Kotter on Thursday night.
The Lightning weren’t celebrating sitcoms of the 1970s.
It was meant to welcome back coach Mark Guandolo.
But even with their veteran coach, Cypress Bay couldn’t prevent University School from dominating almost from start to finish during a 37-7 rout at the Lightning’s home field.
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Running back Jordan Scarlett ran for 188 yards on 16 carries and scored three touchdowns to lead the Suns (3-0), who entered the game ranked No. 13 nationally by StudentSports.com.
University’s defense forced four turnovers, including one on each of Cypress Bay’s first two possessions that helped it build a 13-0 lead.
“We were telling our kids to make sure they keep their composure throughout the game and play with poise and precision,” University coach Roger Harriott said. “Our guys were able to accomplish that.”
Cypress Bay (1-1) defeated Boyd Anderson in its opener last week without Guandolo, who was suspended for two weeks for an incident during the Lightning’s preseason game against American Heritage in which Guandolo was caught on video hitting quarterback Lucas Tellefsen on the side of the helmet.
Cypress Bay amassed 213 rushing yards overall but was unable to finish drives turning the ball over on downs twice in the red zone in addition to its turnovers.
University sophomore free safety Deonta Fair finished with two interceptions, with his first coming on the game’s opening drive to set up Scarlett’s 1-yard touchdown run.
A fumble recovery by Andrew Korakakos that was forced on a sack of Cypress Bay quarterback Lucas Tellefsen by Brandon Russell led to Scarlett breaking a 64-yard touchdown run down the sideline.
Cypress Bay answered with a 11-play, 80-yard drive that Tellefsen capped with a 3-yard quarterback sneak into the end zone to cut the deficit to 13-7.
But the Lightning wasn’t able to draw any closer.
University struck again before the half with its fast-tempo offense and scored when Sean White found Jarius Brown open over the middle for a 15-yard touchdown.
White completed 16 of 28 passes for 217 yards and threw two touchdown passes to one interception.
Sophomore Sam Bruce led the Suns in receiving with eight catches for 72 yards.
“Our coaches preach to us that we have to come out strong early and often,” Scarlett said. “We executed as much as we can, but we have to keep working hard in the weight room and be the team in the best condition out there.”