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Prep Sports Report

Bob Putnam, Rodney Page, Kelly Parsons

Football: Wiregrass Ranch 21, Sickles 14



TAMPA – Wiregrass Ranch (5-0, 2-0 District 7A-8) managed to stay undefeated Monday, with a little help from its opponent. Sickles (1-4, 1-2) committed a pair of critical post-play penalties to jump start the Bulls to a 91-yard drive, capped by an Adrian Thomas' 20-yard TD run with 1:07 to play. Sickles threatened to force overtime but was stopped inside the Bulls' 20.

Key plays: Sickles senior quarterback Jake O'Donnell came off the bench to engineer a go-ahead drive, ending with USF commit Jontrey Hunter's 10-yard TD, his second of the night, for a 14-13 lead with 10:22 to play. Even after Thomas' TD and two-point conversion run for Wiregrass, it looked like O'Donnell was poised to play hero again. He found Ricky Meadows for a sensational 33-yard hookup on the left sideline, ran for 11 yards down to the 25 and hit Hunter for a 7-yard gain. But with one second left, Wiregrass LB Nick Gaziano sacked O'Donnell to to end the game. O'Donnell completed his first five passes for 49 yards.

Key drive: Twice, Wiregrass was set to punt trailing by a point midway through the fourth quarter. Jordan Miner, in at Wildcat for an offense that was struggling since his 29-yard TD run for a 14-7 lead early in the third, fumbled a snap on third down and recovered at his own 1-yard line. That's when a Sickles player levied a late hit. Still it was third and 3 and the Gryphons again dropped Wiregrass for a loss – only for a player to get flagged for profanity after the play. With new life, Wiregrass got a 16-yard run from Thomas to cross midfield, a 16-yard pass form Grant Sessums (6-of-14, 105 yards) to AJ Brown and, finally, the Thomas scamper for a score.

Stars of the game: Except for the minutes surrounding halftime Sickles' defense was great, helping bail out an offense that turned the ball over four times. Twice Wiregrass was up 13-7 and with the ball after a Sickles turnover, only to get turned away, once after Kwesi Littlejohn's interception at the Sickles 25. ... Big Gryphons DT Nathan Covey stuffed many a would-be run up the middle, senior LB Jared Miller was omnipresent, Hunter a force as was Brandon Davis. ... It was dueling major-college commits who wear No. 1 playing Wildcat, as Penn State-bound Miner ran for 50 yards on four carries while adding three receptions for 44 yards, and Hunter totaling 96 on 15 scrimmage touches for Sickles. ... Bulls standout LB Dylan Ridolph recovered a fumble and had two sacks to go with a key tackle for loss...teammate Devaun Roberts broke up two passes to go with a sack. ... Jackson Dorman's 35-yard interception return set up Hunter's 9-yard TD run for a 7-0 Sickles lead with 1:39 left in the first half.

Stats of the game: After gaining 63 yards on its first 10 possessions, Wiregrass went for 71 and 63 on its next two. A 23-yard Thomas run set up Grant Sessums' 39-yard TD bomb to Miner with 30 seconds left in the first half.

Final word: "Divine intervention" – Wiregrass coach Mark Kantor, when asked how his team won

[Last modified: Monday, October 2, 2017 11:28pm]


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