Ocoee football holds on to beat West Port, win first game -- Observer Preps
Dexter Rentz's five interceptions for the Knights — a performance that tied a state record for interceptions in a single game — helped propel Ocoee to its first win of the season on Homecoming.
| 11:30 p.m. October 5, 2017
OCOEE Dexter Rentz does not normally play much defense for the Ocoee Knights.
The sophomore is a starting receiver for the Knights, but on Thursday night he was asked to pull double-duty and play cornerback because of an injury.
By the time Rentz hauled in his fifth interception of the game with 10 seconds to play — sealing a 14-8 win for Ocoee and tying a state record for interceptions in one game in the process — it had become clear the Knights may need to play the sophomore a little bit more on that side of the ball.
"He's our starting receiver — he went in there and got five interceptions," Ocoee head coach Jason Boltus said. "I have not seen a corner make that many plays and play both sides of the ball. ... He's came through so much and it's so enjoyable to see him respond the way he did tonight."
The win was the first of the season for Ocoee (1-5, 1-2 district), and it came on the Knights' Homecoming Game.
While Rentz's remarkable performance stole the show, it was part of a larger defensive effort for Ocoee that saw the Knights record nine takeaways in total: the five interceptions, two fumbles and two turnovers on downs. Ocoee's defense allowed no points, either — West Port scored on a safety and a punt returned for a touchdown.
Down just six points late in the fourth, West Port had multiple opportunities to score and tie or win the game, but the Knights — who had let a late lead slip away against Hagerty last week — bend but did not break.
"It was very reminiscent of last week — but these guys learned from last week," Boltus said. "They came back and executed when we need to execute to earn a win."
The remarkable nature of Rentz's interceptions went beyond volume, too — four of the five interceptions came in the fourth quarter.
"I could never have imagined it (happening) — it just happened tonight," Rentz said. "I was just reading and watching (the quarterback's) eyes."
Tyrese Taylor scored the Knights' first touchdown on a short rush and Kendall Bohler scored the second on a 45-yard pass from freshman quarterback D.J. Boney. Both scores for Ocoee came in the first half.
Afterward, though the Knights did plenty to put their first win in danger, Boltus expressed pleasure with the way his team fought to not let this game slip away.
"We've got an extremely young team and they're going to have ups and downs — its about how well we control our emotions through those ups and downs," Boltus said. "I'm so proud of these guys for how hard they work."