Make us your home page

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: Tarpon Springs 14, Gibbs 8

TARPON SPRINGS — In the first Class 5A, District 9 game for both Gibbs and Tarpon Springs, neither team played especially well. But the Spongers played just a little bit better in a 14-8 win Thursday night.

The teams combined for 32 penalties for 255 yards. They both had two turnovers each within the first six minutes of the game. But Tarpon Springs was able to score two touchdowns in the first half and hang on in the second half to keep its playoff hopes alive. Under the new playoff system, teams in Class 5A and above are only guaranteed a postseason spot by winning their district.

"We've got a lot of work to do," said Dee Wright, who led all rushers with 95 yards on 14 carries. "We did what we had to do but we can do better than that. We wanted to build a bigger lead in the second half but that didn't happen."

In the first quarter, Ennis Hill returned an interception 40 yards to make the score 6-0. It was the second interception freshman quarterback Cornelius McKenzie threw in the quarter. In the second quarter, Tarpon Springs quarterback Justice Parham, back from an opening-game injury, hit J'Von France on a 53-yard pass that brought the ball to the Gibbs' 1-yard line. Wright scored from a yard out. The two-point conversion made it 14-0.

The Spongers had the ball very little in the second half.

Their first two series were three-and-outs. Gibbs made it close by scoring on its first possession of the third quarter. McKenzie scored on a 14-yard run that capped a nine-play drive to cut the lead to 14-6. The two-point conversion failed.

After another three-and-out by the Spongers, Gibbs put together a long drive that eventually stalled. The Gladiators punted the ball to the Tarpon Springs 2-yard line. On the first play, Adam Hardy was tackled in the end zone for a safety that made the score 14-8 in the fourth quarter.

But McKenzie and backup quarterback Deonnte Brooks both were injured late in the quarter and Gibbs was unable to get anything going.

"We were still in the game even though we were down to our emergency quarterback," Gibbs coach Antonio Knox said. "We were in a world of trouble. I give (Tarpon) credit for packing the box. We couldn't get anything going."

Gibbs was held to 91 passing yards. Tarpon Springs threw for only 64 yards.

Football: Tarpon Springs 14, Gibbs 8 09/28/17 [Last modified: Thursday, September 28, 2017 11:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Road to Atlanta: Tell us how you really feel, Jimbo


    Topped out

    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 21:  Rashaan Evans #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide tackles Jarrett Guarantano #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) 775042495
  2. Journal: USF gets support on the road


    NEW ORLEANS — Perhaps it was the chance to witness the first USF-Tulane game ever, or an opportunity to frolic in the French Quarter for a weekend. Or both.

    USF running back D'Ernest Johnson (2) stiff-arms Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) on a run during the second half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH111
  3. Joey Knight's takeaways from USF-Tulane


    1. Saturday's triumph will do little to fortify USF's strength of schedule, but its strength-of-character quotient might have increased. On the road facing an eclectic offense, the Bulls built a huge lead, then made critical plays in the waning moments after some defensive lapses. In short, they survived. Isn't …

    South Florida defensive end Greg Reaves (41) reacts after a defensive stop against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH107
  4. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start


    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  5. Lightning journal: Tighter defense fuels hot start

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — See what happens when you keep the crease clean, limit the traffic in front of G Andrei Vasilevskiy and limit Grade A scoring chances?

    Yanni Gourde, right, gets a late first-period goal that follows a big save by Andrei Vasilevskiy.