Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Sports

Football: Springstead 27, Gainesville 7

RECOMMENDED READING


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."

Comments
Cousins: Just being a big man

Cousins: Just being a big man

Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins says he was protecting a rebound the way all big men are taught when he was ejected for a flagrant foul during a game against the Thunder. Cousins was called for a flagrant-two foul when he raised his right elbow near...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

TAMPA ó The Bucs have some positive momentum with back-to-back wins, but DT Gerald McCoy said itís too soon to say his 4-6 team has turned a corner."We havenít turned a corner yet," McCoy said Wednesday, preparing for Sundayís game at Atlanta. "Itís ...
Updated: 16 minutes ago

Captainís Corner: Bay area reefs, hard bottoms, flats worth your attention

With air temperature still in the upper 70s to low 80s during the day in between cool fronts, you might want to look around bay area reefs, hard bottoms and flats. When the water starts warming in the middle of the day, snook start biting. But donít ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
McCoy is only Bucs player in Pro Bowl voting top 10s

McCoy is only Bucs player in Pro Bowl voting top 10s

The Bucs aren't faring well in early Pro Bowl fan voting, with DT Gerald McCoy as the only Tampa Bay player ranking in the top 10 at his position.McCoy, seeking his sixth straight Pro Bowl selection, ranks seventh among NFL defensive tackles, one wee...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

TAMPA - Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov has watched plenty of film on Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.Kucherov marveled how the former league MVP uses deception to "hide" from defenders. He noticed how patient Kane was with the puck, how well he ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Chip Kelly Watch goes on

The Chip Kelly Watch goes on

The Chip Kelly Watch continues.Kelly, the former Oregon coach, met with UCLA on Tuesday, according to multiple media outlets. That's not a surprise; Kelly and the Bruins would make a lot of sense together. That also doesn't mean that Florida is out o...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macyís parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.ííItís a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Koetter says Bucs not distracted by Jameis Winstonís off-field issue

The Bucs are 1-0 since news broke last Friday of Jameis Winston being accused by an Uber driver of groping her during a ride in March of 2016.That's really all the evidence coach Dirk Koetter needs to say the issue has not been a distraction to the t...
Updated: 3 hours ago

ĎGood chanceí Cedric Paquette back for Lightning

For Cedric Paquette, the wait may finally be over.Paquette said there's a good chance he returns to the Lightning lineup tonight against the Blackhawks at Amalie Arena (7:30 p.m., NBCSN). Paquette had missed the last 13 games with an undisclosed inju...
Updated: 4 hours ago
HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball players to watch

HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball players to watch

The regular season for girls basketball is underway and once again the Tampa Bay area is not short on talent. There are good players in just about every gym in the area this winter. Here is our look at the top 25 players to watch. We know there'll be...
Updated: 4 hours ago