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Preseason football: Gibbs 27, Tarpon Springs 23

TARPON SPRINGS — Gibbs and Tarpon Springs both entered Friday's preseason game with questions surrounding their offensive lines.

After the Gladiators' 27-23 victory, the Spongers will enter the regular season with work to do.

Tarpon Springs quarterback Louis Pappas began the night in bright fashion with an 80-yard strike to transfer Dondre Daley for a touchdown, but Pappas faced heavy pressure and was sacked seven times.

"Our offensive line is young and we know they're going to learn from this game," said Pappas, who was 5-of-14 for 100 yards. "We'll take things away from this game, learn from it and we know we have plenty of weapons to be a major factor this season."

Pappas was missing two of those weapons at wide receiver. Senior Runaldo Wright and junior Kenyatta Merriex missed practice last week and were held out by Spongers coach Atif Austin.

Daley exhibited electricity with his third-quarter catch along the left sideline in which the 6-foot-3 transfer from Anclote sped past the Gladiators secondary, featuring Gary Simon, to put Tarpon Springs ahead 16-13.

Gibbs running back Emmanuel Stewart scored on a 22-yard run soon after Daley's TD for a 20-16 lead late in the third.

On the Spongers' next drive Kenny Blanch, another transfer, ran twice, bowling over defenders to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Pappas for a 23-20 lead.

Gibbs' Gary Simon made the play of the game when he darted across the middle for a catch, then eluded two defenders on his way to an 82-yard score for the final margin.

"We have the athletes, we have the players that can get it done in the backfield, at quarterback, on the outside," said Simon, who had four receptions for 142 yards. "Everyone was talking about how we didn't have an offensive line. Well, we have that now too, so it's all about putting everything together."

Preseason football: Gibbs 27, Tarpon Springs 23 08/27/11 [Last modified: Saturday, August 27, 2011 12:44am]
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