WESLEY CHAPEL — Wiregrass Ranch, 1-9 last season, came inches from victory in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter in its preseason game Friday. Indian Rocks Christian forced a turnover inside its own 10-yard line to win 26-21 with 16 seconds left.
"We learned that we do have some character, the way the kids didn't give up and that is a good thing to see in the preseason," IRC coach Mark Buchanan said.
After trailing at halftime 20-6, Wiregrass Ranch put up 15 unanswered points in the third quarter.
"We made a couple of adjustments at half, but our guys started flying around and started playing like I know they can play," coach Ricky Thomas said. "Our offensive line came out in the second half and our running backs started to run hard. If we could do that for four quarters we should be in good shape."
Indian Rocks scored in the fourth quarter to take the lead, but allowed the Bulls to march down the field on the ensuing possession.
On fourth and long, with 35 seconds on the clock, James Tringali heaved the ball from the 15-yard line; it bounced off an Eagle and into the hands of the Bulls' Blake Burch who was ruled down at the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Tringali fumbled to dash a fourth-quarter comeback.
"Anything is better than it was last year, but absolutely, we will be better than we were last year," Thomas said. "Not only defensively, but as a football team we will be better this season."