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)

Tarpon Springs 27, East Lake 17

TARPON SPRINGS — For three glorious quarters, East Lake had the momentum and the lead against its fiercest rival.

Then came the onslaught.

In a span of 10 minutes Thursday, Tarpon Springs scored 21 points, more than enough to beat the Eagles 27-17.

"The problem with this team is we start slow," Spongers coach George Kotis said. "But we contradict that by being great at overcoming adversity. In the second half, I think we decided to turn it up a notch."

The first half, though, belonged to the Eagles. Using ball-control offense, East Lake dictated the tempo with guileless runs up the middle. It helped chew up yards and the clock.

It also produced points.

In the second quarter, the Eagles scored on a 4-yard run by Derek Hunter. Travis Mullen added the extra point to make it 7-0, a lead that stood at the half.

Tarpon Springs (2-0) started the third quarter by recovering an onside kick. That led to a 16-yard touchdown run by Marcus Nemeth. The extra point was blocked.

Two possessions later, East Lake drove to the 10-yard line before settling on a 27-yard field by Mullen to make it 10-6 to end the third.

"That was a big point in the game," Eagles coach Bob Hudson said. "We had the ball inside the 10-yard line and couldn't get a touchdown. It helped turn the momentum."

In a close game where field position mattered, Tarpon Springs started its next possession on the 25-yard line.

The drive ended 15 plays, 75 yards and a staggering eight minutes later in the end zone. Ladarrius Only finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Spongers their first lead.

"That score was big for me because this is my first time playing against East Lake," said Only, a junior who was suspended the first two weeks of the season for disciplinary reasons. "We needed that."

The drive didn't end the show for East Lake (1-2), but the credits were ready to roll.

Forced to pass, the Eagles turned the ball over twice on their next two possessions. The first came when Tarpon's Stamati Damalos picked off a pass and returned it to the East Lake 1. Marcelle Lewis scored on a short plunge to put the Spongers ahead 20-10.

The other turnover came when Eagles quarterback Sam Shaffer was hit from behind and fumbled. Tarpon's Dre Danapas scooped it up and ran 14 yards for a touchdown to make it 27-10.

"When we want to crank the throttle, we can be a pretty good football team," Kotis said. "We showed that in the fourth quarter."

East Lake tacked on a late score as Shaffer hit Tyler Higbee on a 5-yard pass.

"We just made too many mistakes and gave up too much at the end," Hudson said.

Bob Putnam can be reached at or (727) 445-4169.

Tarpon Springs 27

East Lake 17

Tarpon Springs 27, East Lake 17 09/19/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 22, 2008 10:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs get first new video director in 29 years


    When the Bucs took to the practice field this week to start OTA practices, they did so with a new video director for the first time in 29 years.

    Bucs video director Dave Levy, shown during the 2003 season, worked under nine different head coaches in 29 seasons working for Tampa Bay.
  2. Rays set to activate Tommy Hunter from DL


    The Rays plan to activate RHP Tommy Hunter from the DL for Thursday's series finale against the Angels.

  3. Steven Souza Jr. snaps out of slump as Rays defeat Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After Tuesday's shutout loss to the Angels, Steven Souza Jr. stood in front of his locker and talked about his need to contribute to the offense.

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jesus Sucre (45) hugs right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) in the dugout after his two run home run in the second inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
  4. Tom Jones: Rays made right move sending Blake Snell to minors

    The Heater

    tom jones' two cents


    Blake Snell’s struggles on the mound were only one of the reasons the Rays sent him to the minors; some other red flags existed. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    Rookie RHP Ryne Stanek has had his early struggles, but Wednesday he showed his high-octane potential, working around a one-out walk to strike out the mighty Mike Trout (on a 98.4 mph fastball) and legendary Albert Pujols (98.7), both swinging.