Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Football: Springstead 27, Gainesville 7

SPRING HILL — The game still had a minute left, but on the sidelines Springstead players already dumped buckets of ice on the trampled grass. They knew they would have reason to celebrate.

The Eagles defeated Gainesville 27-7 Friday to advance to the 6A region finals. They'll face Armwood in the next round.

Springstead is the first team in Hernando County history to make it to the third round, coach Mike Garofano said.

Springstead is the only North Suncoast team still in the playoffs. Addressing his players after the game, Garofano said the Eagles have never had 11 wins in a season and have never won 11 times in a row.

"Let's keep it going," he said.

Daniel Wright scored two of the Eagles' four touchdowns despite a bruised knee. He was taken off the field on a stretcher last week, but he said it didn't bother him at all against Gainesville.

"He's got the heart," Garofano said, "and he's got the toughness."

Gainesville standout Tony James, a 2014 Oregon commit, was sidelined for the game.

Springstead took the lead early. Just a couple of minutes in, Tyler Mahla threw a 25-yard pass to Joe Jeffords for a touchdown. Tyler Toth's point after was good.

The Eagles' defense took a hit, however, on Gainesville's next drive. Springstead linebacker Juan Espinosa was carried off on a stretcher with his leg in a splint.

The second quarter began with Springstead leading, but a 41-yard run by Gainesville's Ahmad Ivey put the Hurricanes at the Eagles' 26.

Tamarcus Faulkner IV eventually rushed 1 yard for the touchdown, and Alex Holloway kicked the extra point.

It seemed Springstead would go into halftime with the score tied, but the Eagles didn't let up. With 17 seconds left in the half, Wright caught a 22-yard pass from Mahla for another touchdown.

On the Eagles' first drive of the second half, Jeffords threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Anderson. The Eagles missed the extra point but led 20-7 going into the fourth quarter.

Coaching assistants murmured to one another that all they needed to do was to hold onto the ball.

"Careful," one assistant called to the defensive line. "They're getting pass-happy."

The Eagles did more than hang onto the ball. With a little more than a minute left in the game, Springstead had first and goal from the 8.

Wright rushed the final yard on third down, and Toth's kick was good, securing the victory.

Garofano said though he was pleased with his team's performance, their turnovers in the first half were cause for concern.

"There's still things to correct," he said. "We'll watch the film."

Regardless, he told his players they needed to take time to celebrate.

"I love making history," Wright, surrounded by family after the game, said with a grin, "especially with this team."

Football: Springstead 27, Gainesville 7 11/22/13 [Last modified: Friday, November 22, 2013 11:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip

    Blogs

    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  2. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games

    Blogs

    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.
  3. RHP Alex Cobb feeling safer as Rays make playoff push

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the fourth inning of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
  4. HomeTeam 100: Players 61-70

    Footballpreps

    Jefferson wide receiver Dontavius Smith during the game between Jefferson High School and Jesuit High School at Jesuit on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
  5. A second chance at life, away from the game he loved

    The Heater

    Dylan Delso, a catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays' Gulf Coast League team, displays his scar at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. On June 25, 2016 Delso fell backward down a flight of stairs, suffering a nearly fatal head injury that put him in a coma for eight days. He's finally back on the baseball field after a miraculous recovery.