NEW PORT RICHEY — Turnovers aside, Tarpon Springs looked solid in its 27-2 win over Gulf on Friday — to everyone but Spongers coach George Kotis that is.
When asked what his team did well, he didn't hesitate.
"I'm not going to lie," Kotis said. "Not a lot."
Gulf might disagree.
Tarpon Springs was far from perfect. It did, after all, lose three fumbles and throw an interception. But the Spongers did enough things right to make one think they're a squad that could have a playoff berth in their future.
First and foremost, the defensive line was stout. Especially early on.
Gulf's first six offensive plays were as follows: incompletion, 2-yard loss, 5-yard loss, 2-yard loss, incompletion and 13-yard loss (a sack by Tarpon Springs' Danny Chaisson). On each of those plays, the Spongers' defensive line, which figures to be the team's strength, was in the backfield creating problems.
"That's what we'll build off of," Kotis said.
The offense was efficient at times, electric at others. Playing without heralded tailback Adrian Golden, a Gulf transfer who had a minor hip injury, Tarpon Springs got nice productivity from its other backs, especially Darius Daniels, Josiah Fisk and Dimaggio Hardy. Daniels scored on a 73-yard run on Tarpon Springs' first play.
Gulf dressed only 28 players and was without superstar tight end/defensive tackle Leon Orr, who sat with a minor hamstring injury.
For the Bucs, the best news was that everyone played and a few players made a move to earn more time.
"I'm pleased we survived," Gulf coach Jay Fulmer said.