Football: Wiregrass Ranch 14, Sunlake 9
WESLEY CHAPEL — For a game with very little action in the first three quarters, it sure picked up in the end. Wiregrass Ranch is 3-0 for the first time ever after taking a 14-2 lead on two Jordan Miner TD receptions, then holding on to beat Sunlake 14-9.
Key play: Sunlake, up 2-0 at halftime having attempted no forward passes, got an interception from D'narijo Troupe and was methodically driving midway through the third quarter at the Wiregrass 28. But Jatshaun Pyce made a huge strip and fumble recovery to spark his team, which took a 7-2 lead late in the third on Grant Sessums' 34-yard TD toss to Miner.
Key drive: For the second time this season the Bulls had to make a last-minute stand. Wiregrass had allowed Sunlake back in the game, when Adam Jarvis' second blocked punt of the night led to his 1-yard TD run making it 14-9 with 7:22 remaining. Then the Bulls, right after Adrian Thomas' 30-yard run inside the Sunlake 30, were sacked with Jarvis recovering and Sunlake had a shot at the victory. Quarterback Hunter Watts hit Alex Flippo, who had started at QB, with a key conversion and later ran for 20 yards inside the Bulls 20. But on fourth and 3 from the 11, Wiregrass came up with tight coverage for an incomplete pass.
Stars of the game: Jarvis' first blocked punt went through the end zone for the only first-half points, and he ran for 47 yards as well. ... Bryant Beacham ran 24 times for 149 yards as the Seahawks attempted 53 rushes for 260 yards, compared to the Bulls' only running for 50; Thomas had 68 yards on 14 attempts but Sunlake had multiple losses of yards. ... Miner took advantage of a mismatch on the first TD and hauled in a nice 19-yard throw from Sessums for the seemingly safe lead with 10:20 left. ... Sessums threw for 184 yards and Thomas had 170 from scrimmage. ... Tyler Verscharen made several big plays for the Seahawks defense, including a tone-setting 8-yard loss on the first play. ... Beacham also had a key tackle, chasing down Thomas on a 93-yard screen pass at the 2-yard line, with Sunlake making the goal-line stand after starting off the second quarter.
Stats of the game: Outside of the long screen play, Wiregrass was held to minus-7 yards in the first half but did gain 150 in the second. ... The first actual Sunlake pass attempt came on the first play of the fourth quarter; the Seahawks ran on their first 29 plays, including twice on third and 20, before technically "attempting" a pass when they clocked the ball late in the first half.
Final word I: "The emphasis was on no longer having our tails get whipped." — Wiregrass Ranch coach Mark Kantor on what the coaching staff stressed at halftime, calling the first-half "unacceptable."
Final word II: "I'll take 3-0. But I'd like to take it a lot better than (a score of) 14-9." — Kantor