Friday, May 25, 2018
Sports

Football: Armwood 28, Jefferson 9

TAMPA — It was the biggest game of unbeaten Armwood's season, but as far as coach Sean Callahan was concerned his Hawks weren't playing like it. In the first two quarters of a road game against district rival Jefferson, Armwood accrued nine penalties and had just four first downs.

At the break, Callahan lit a fire under his team. Fourteen seconds into the second half with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the Hawks proved to Callahan they took his words to heart. The return gave Armwood a lead it wouldn't relinquish on its way to a 28-9 victory against Jefferson.

"The whole thing was us settling down," Callahan. "Hopefully with adversity, we learned from it. … I was embarrassed by the level of play."

Armwood came in having allowed only 14 points all season, but Noah Pena capped off Jefferson's first drive with a 29-yard field goal to take a 6-0 lead. Armwood (5-0, 4-0) had just 7 total yards of offense in the first quarter.

Jefferson quarterback Deiondre Porter, who finished with 201 total yards, had a strong first half, and with 6:15 to go before the break he connected with Chavez Pownell for a 13-yard touchdown, the first Armwood had allowed in 12 quarters.

The Dragons (3-1, 2-1) wouldn't score again, and the Hawks' defense wasn't the only thing to blame.

Callahan's halftime speech forced Armwood to clean up its act in the second half, but Jefferson did not. The Dragons finished with 12 penalties, nine of which came after halftime.

Talvin Bailey's 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown gave Armwood its first lead, 14-9, 14 seconds into the third quarter.

Forced to play from behind, the Dragons were stunted by a scrappy Armwood defense. When the Hawks had the ball, however, Jefferson penalties helped push them closer to the end zone.

On Armwood's third drive of the second half, back-to-back Jefferson unsportsmanlike penalties gave the Hawks a short field. Two plays later, Greg Newton rushed for a 4-yard touchdown.

"I want to say statistically we've had less than six penalties in every game," a visibly frustrated Jefferson coach Jeremy Earle said. "All of a sudden tonight we turned into the worst-disciplined team ever."

Less than three minutes later, Pena, not far from his own end zone, punted the ball just 15 yards. A short return gave Armwood the ball at the 4-yard line. Armwood's two-play drive, ending with a 1-yard run from Craig Carrington, gave Armwood the game's final score.

Jefferson's explosive offense came into Friday's matchup averaging 445 yards per game. Friday, Armwood held it to just 237 yards.

After the game, quarterback Noah Johnson, who finished with 142 yards through the air, gushed about his teammates on the other side of the ball.

"They played their behind off, every single carry," Johnson said. "We got their back, they got our back. Whenever we're not going, they're going."

Armwood's win was its ninth straight regular-season victory against Jefferson since 2002, having lost the only one because of forfeit. The regular season is not halfway over, but some are calling Armwood district champion after its win against Jefferson.

A proud, yet seemingly relieved Callahan won't argue.

"It should be," he said, "unless there's a total meltdown."

Comments
The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Stanley Cup final begins Monday in the unlikeliest of places, in a city brand-new to major pro sports and suddenly the center of the hockey world: Las Vegas, whose Golden Knights could become the first expansion team to win a championship.And whi...
Updated: 30 minutes ago
FSU football fans: How do you remember Jimbo Fisher?

FSU football fans: How do you remember Jimbo Fisher?

Former Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher should be back in the state next week for the SEC's spring meetings in Destin. It is, to my knowledge, his first big trip back to Florida since leaving for Texas A&M in December.With that in mind, my questi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Alex Cobb excited about return “home” to Trop even in Orioles orange

Alex Cobb excited about return “home” to Trop even in Orioles orange

RHP Alex Cobb has already pitched twice against his former Rays mates in Baltimore and said it didn't feel that weird, especially since there were so many new faces in the lineup.But coming back to the Trop, where he made his big-league debut and spe...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Willy Adames goes back to AAA, leaving Rays with “a lot to be excited about’

Willy Adames goes back to AAA, leaving Rays with “a lot to be excited about’

Willy Adames' first stint in the major leagues ended as planned Thursday night when he was optioned back to Triple-A Durham at the end of his planned three-game cameo filling in for new father Joey Wendle.Adames said going back down was "tough" even ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Steve Yzerman’s summer plans: Make the Lightning better

Steve Yzerman’s summer plans: Make the Lightning better

TAMPA — Captain Steven Stamkos said the Lightning's window for contending for a Stanley Cup championship is not closing."I think it's wide open," he said one day after the Lightning lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to the Capitals.Ge...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Indianapolis 500: How Danica Patrick changed racing

Indianapolis 500: How Danica Patrick changed racing

Tampa's Carlie Yent was at a racing banquet a few years ago when someone asked her to name the driver who influenced her the most.The answer was easy and obvious: Danica Patrick."She was someone I could look up to," Yent said, "and she was the most i...
Updated: 6 hours ago
After Danica Patrick, why aren’t there more women in auto racing?

After Danica Patrick, why aren’t there more women in auto racing?

If you assumed Danica Patrick's success would lead to a tidal wave of female drivers into racing's top series, you're not alone."I kind of thought the Danica thing would bring out a lot of people, honestly," said Tampa's Megan Rae Meyer, a 21-year-ol...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Calvary Christian’s record win streak ends in state final

Calvary Christian’s record win streak ends in state final

FORT MYERS — One of the most impressive streaks in high school baseball came to an end early Friday morning.Calvary Christian lost the Class 4A state championship 5-1 to Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian at Hammond Stadium in a game that ended ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Having lost two straight and nine of 12 times overall to the Red Sox, the Rays needed two things to go right Thursday:First, a strong start from Blake Snell.Second, some early runs against Rick Porcello from an offense that had...
Published: 05/24/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Home cooking clearly agrees with OF Denard Span. The 34-year-old Tampa product continues to deliver, producing at the plate, running the bases, making diving catches in the outfield, and Thursday, even going over the short sidewall twice in hot pursu...
Published: 05/24/18