After Tarpon Springs senior RB Adrian “Bubba” Golden returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown Friday night against Palm Harbor University, he didn’t touch the ball again until midway through the second quarter.
“I had to calm down,” Golden said. “After I scored, I had an anxiety attack.”
That’s precisely what his performance is likely to give defensive coordinators of future Sponger opponents. What Golden, a transfer from Gulf, proved is that his record-setting performance in Pasco County last year (he rushed for a single-season record 2,514 yards) was not a fluke.
On only 11 touches Friday, he totaled 285 all-purpose yards.
Aside from the kickoff return, he also produced a 50-yard touchdown run and a 59-yard touchdown reception. On the latter, he scooped up a low pass, juked one defender and outran a few others on his way to the end zone.
Ironically, Golden almost wasn’t on the kickoff team.
“I messed up in practice on Tuesday,” he said. “I wasn’t blocking right so they took me off of it.”
By Thursday, Golden had corrected his mistakes and was given another shot to be the Spongers return man. A day later, he made the most of his second chance.
The 5-foot-9 Golden has yet to receive any scholarship offers, but that is likely to change. And probably soon. Spongers coach George Kotis plans to put together a video of Golden’s highlights in a few weeks and send it out to colleges.