HomeTeam Hot Shots
The first week of the 2014-15 school year is in the books, and Pasco County pulls off a sweep in our player of the week voting .
Ryan Marsh, Mitchell
Ryan Marsh was part of a three-headed running back attack last season for Mitchell's football team, and was limited to 32 carries for 207 yards and four touchdowns as a junior. One week into the 2014 season and he has already surpassed that total.
Marsh had a tremendous start to his final prep season by running wild against Anclote on Friday. He gained 252 yards and had three long touchdown runs in the Mustangs' 36-7 win. It is now no secret that he will be a major offensive weapon this season for Mitchell.
"I didn't get most of the carries last season,'' Marsh said. "I definitely wanted to prove that I was capable of being the main ball carrier.''
Marsh said he had high expectations coming into the season but he had no idea what to expect in the first game. It became apparent early that he was going to have a good night, as long as he took what his offensive line gave him.
"It really depended on how the offensive line blocked,'' he said. "They did a great job of making big holes and I just had to run through them."
With a start like this, Marsh could emerge as one of the top backs in Pasco County. The Mustangs take on Ridgewood — which opened with a 47-40 win over Fivay — this week.
"That was a good way to start but we'll see what happens the rest of the season,'' Marsh said.
Why he won
Marsh was outstanding in Mitchell's 36-7 opening-night win against Anclote. He gained 252 yards on 11 carries and scored three touchdowns — of 89, 49 and 48 yards — in three quarters.
Jessica Babcock, River Ridge
The River Ridge volleyball team might be young, but it hasn't held the Royal Knights back so far. And senior captain Jessica Babcock is a main reason why.
Since Babcock is just one of two seniors on an 11-person roster, coach Nicole Rossman holds the 5-foot-10 middle hitter to a higher standard.
"She has to not only lead as a senior, but she has to lead because she's a captain," Rossman said. "Not everyone is going to have a perfect game all the time, but I expect from my captains, that when they're in a funk, they keep their heads up."
Working hard and seeing the results, though, is something on which Babcock prides herself.
Aside from her contributions on the volleyball court — Babcock recorded 54 kills, 15 service aces and 50 blocks last season — the senior owns a 4.5 grade-point average while taking four AP classes.
"She still remembers one B that she got in elementary school," Rossman said, "and it haunts her."
Last year the Knights finished 8-13 and in the middle of the pack in a tough district. But with wins against Zephyrhills and Gulf, the Knights have already found early success. Babcock hopes it's a sign of things to come.
"I think it's really just about being together as a team, no little ruffles in the feathers," she said. "There's definitely a new attitude, I'd say."
Why she won
In matches against Zephyrhills and Gulf last week, Babcock totaled 15 kills, five blocks, 20 digs and nine service aces — 60 percent of her ace total from the entire 2013 season. She did all of this while making a total of just six errors. "She gives 150 percent," Rossman said, "no matter what she does."
Send us nominations
Have an athlete who should be considered for our next voting cycle? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.