Jefferson 35, Strawberry Crest 31

Shaquille Speights scored his fourth touchdown Friday with five seconds remaining, pushing Jefferson (5-4, 4-2) to an emotional comeback win, 35-31 over Strawberry Crest (3-6, 1-5).

The Dragons overcame a pesky Chargers squad, but a looming FHSAA ruling that could result in three forfeited wins awaits.

“We knew going into the game that we were set up for an upset,” Jefferson coach Jeremy Earle said. “As much as you try to avoid it, there we were. Staring at it right in our faces.”

Strawberry Crest took a 31-28 lead with less than two minutes left. Dragons quarterback Deiondre Porter ran for 45 yards on the deciding drive and his toss to Speights sealed it. The senior tailback rushed for three other scores.

This article can be found here as originally published in The Tampa Bay Times.


Newsome 42, Riverview 6

RIVERVIEW — Quarterback Will Worth rushed for four touchdowns as Newsome (4-4, 3-1) rolled Riverview (2-6, 0-3) 42-6 on Friday night.

“It’s not a one-man show,” Newsome coach Kenneth Hiscock said of Worth. “But we do expect great things from him and he gave them to us tonight.”

Turnovers turned the game into a rout quickly, as Newsome jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead. That lead was extended to 35 points when Zac Slater took the second half’s opening kickoff the distance.

Riverview avoided the shutout on a last-play touchdown. The Sharks turned the ball over five times and didn’t gain a first down until midway through the second quarter.

Worth finished with 89 passing yards and 94 yards on the ground.

This article can be found here as it originally appeared in The Tampa Bay Times.

Brandon 16, Riverview 8

Facing fourth and goal with less than two minutes left, the Brandon defense did what it did well all night — stopped the run.

The Eagles (1-6, 1-2) stuffed a potentially game-tying play from their own 5-yard line, holding on for their first win of the season, 16-8 over Riverview (2-6, 0-3) Thursday night.

“I’m proud of these kids,” Brandon coach Dean Eychner said. “They paid their dues coming out of the gate. I saw some things out of them tonight that reflected the work they’ve invested.”

Riverview’s only score came on a fourth-quarter punt return as the Brandon defense held the Sharks to just 107 offensive yards.

This article can be found here as it was originally published in The Tampa Bay Times.

San Fran Consistent In Every Way

The 49ers use an explosive defense to supplement for their plodding offense.

Yes, I know the Giants stomped them. Yes, I know Christian Ponder beat them too. But the 49ers are for real, and we’re all going to see it very soon.

What I love most about San Francisco, is that they play a consistent brand of football. They have a strategy that’s been proven effective and they don’t care that they got smoked by Eli Manning, they’re going to run it out there next week, knowing Russell Wilson is going to be ineffective.

The Niners rank first in the NFL in total defense, but most importantly, they rank second in passing defense. The league has become so pass heavy, that unless a team finds effective ways to stop the throw, no lead is going to be safe. In their four wins combined, San Francisco’s allowed just 28 second half points to be scored against them, and more than half of those came in their week one shootout with Green Bay.

Having allowed just two rushing touchdowns all season long, as well as just one 100-yard rusher (the Giants’ Ahmad Bradshaw), it’s simply hard to put up points against this team.

The rest of this article can be found here where it was originally published in The Minaret.

Plant 49, Brandon 0

Plant scored on its first offensive play and never looked back, beating Brandon 49-0 on Friday night.

Three minutes into the game, Colby Brown connected with Jordan Reed for the first of his three touchdown passes. He finished 14-of-19 for 227 yards, with a pair of touchdowns to junior Cameron Winter as well.

“I had a lot of fun tonight,” Brown said after the win. “We’re all excited for the next couple games. I feel like we’re playing pretty well right now.”

The Plant (5-1, 1-0) defense held Brandon (0-6, 0-2) to 97 total yards. The Panthers squashed the Eagles’ only real scoring threat when they forced a fumble at their own 10-yard line in the first quarter.

This article can be found here as it was originally published in The Tampa Bay Times.

Alonso 20, Bloomingdale 0

On a night bogged down by more than 200 penalty yards and a soggy field, Alonso was thrilled just to be heading home. A shutout victory over a district opponent doesn’t hurt either, as the Ravens (3-2, 1-0) defeated Bloomingdale (3-3, 0-1), 20-0 Friday night.

While the Bulls tried and failed to throw the ball, Alonso was content working their junior running back. Ish Witter finished with 112 yards on 25 carries.

Tensions ran high for most of the game, climaxing with the ejection of Bloomingdale defensive end Tyler Jahn after he tossed his helmet while walking off the field.

“There’s always rivalries with district games and we’re dealing with 16-, 17-, and 18-year-old kids,” said Alonso coach Brian Emanuel. “I think the officials did a good job of controlling it.”

This article can be found here as it was originally published in The Tampa Bay Times.

NCAA Trumps NFL In Every Way

I awoke on Monday morning with the strangest vision. A world of vibrant colors and real history surrounded me. There were these things called “traditions” and “idiosyncrasies” that made each and every football team unique. A field of blue. It was a world of pigskin that didn’t know anything about replacement referees or bounty scandals or beer sponsors. It was a simpler place. And it was played on Saturdays.

The collegiate level is simply the most entertaining and pure platform for American football.

“No!” You might scream. “The NFL rocks my socks! I can’t draft Clemson QB Tajh Boyd to my fake team on the internet and bet money that he, compounded with many other unrelated players, will win me glory and cash!”

This is true. Fantasy football is the NFL’s monopoly, and it’s often the argument fans use when defending the league. Because of the nature of NFL contracts and naming rights, both fantasy football and NFL video games have created closer connection with fans. NCAA ‘13 would be a whole lot better with some last names.

I can admit that I love fantasy sports, and in particular, fantasy football. But lately, I’ve come to a couple of sobering realizations. 1. As a sports journalist, fantasy sports are bad. Sports betting is bad. Bias and vested interest are bad. 2. Teams and rivalries don’t really matter to me anymore. 3. College football, without this faux-personal relationship with players, makes me happier.

This past weekend, I took in three live football games. I covered a high school game on Friday night filled with mistakes and complete with an hour-long weather delay. On Saturday night, I headed to the USF vs. FSU game and on Sunday, I experienced RGIII’s first fourth quarter NFL comeback.

The rest of this article can be found here where it was originally published in The Minaret.