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Delayed games spark confidence, a bit of bafflement

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Thu. October 11, 2012 | Matt Baker | Email

As Anclote’s players filed out of the locker room Monday after finishing the second half of their 41-7 win over Ridgewood, they said goodbye to coach Matt Wicks on their way out.

“See you Monday, Coach,” one player said.

Monday, of course, was almost over, but the force of habit had taken over. And rain forced those habits to change this week at Anclote, Ridgewood and Wiregrass Ranch.

“It’s very bizarre,” Wicks said.

Wicks’ team played the first half last Friday until lightning and a blown transformer forced them to play the second half Monday.
Though it meant a shorter week to game plan for this week’s showdown with Zephyrhills, Wicks said the altered schedule has its advantages. Anclote played one half, so the contact wasn’t as intense as a full game but was harder than a typical Monday.

“That was basically like a hard practice for us,” Wicks said. “That’s game-time stuff you can’t simulate.”

And the final result — the Sharks’ first victory of the season — showed tangible improvements and gave his team more confidence heading into this week's game.

Wiregrass Ranch also felt a jolt Monday.

After giving up three touchdowns in the game’s first five minutes last Friday against Tampa Bay Tech before lightning took over, the Bulls rebounded when the contest resumed after the weekend. Wiregrass Ranch allowed only 32 points in the final three and a half quarters. It scored its fifth touchdown of the season on a run by quarterback Shane Bucenell and got strong performances by athlete Devin Duckett and defensive end/running back Christian Borak.

“We looked like a totally different football team from Friday night,” coach Jeremy Shobe said.

But Shobe was less certain of how the shortened week will affect his team in tonight’s game against Countryside. Wiregrass is banged up, with athletes Jaye Miner and Jake Day doubtful because of injuries.

And because his team played almost a full game Monday — while losing a day of practice — game-planning against one of Tampa Bay’s top teams grew even more challenging.

“What do you do?” Shobe said. “Do you condition kids? Do you go out and hit all week? Do you lighten up? There’s not a perfect formula.”

But it’s one Wiregrass Ranch will have to learn. The Bulls will have another short week of preparation because of next week’s Thursday night game at Chamberlain.

Staff writer Matt Baker can be reached at mbaker@tampabay.com or on Twitter @MattHomeTeam.

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