Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Sports

'Teaching moment' for Bulldogs, Gators

ZEPHYRHILLS — Reggie Roberts' frustration after Zephyrhills' 34-13 preseason victory over Land O'Lakes shows just how far his program has come.

Instead of focusing on his first victory over one of Pasco County's most storied programs, Roberts dwelled on Friday night's fumbles, penalties and errors.

"If we want to have the kind of season we know we can have, we've got to eliminate those mistakes — period," Roberts said.

Zephyrhills showed flashes of playoff potential.

Division I prospect Jordan Roberts — a track and basketball standout — started his senior season with a breakout performance.

He scored three touchdowns three different ways — on a 67-yard pass from Ty Tanner, a 92-yard kickoff return and a 70-yard interception return.

He added a one-handed two-point conversion catch during a flurry in which the teams combined for 27 points in 2:02.

"Jordan has made that transition to a football player now," his coach said.

Zephyrhills had plenty of other highlights, too.

Devin Brockington snared two interceptions, Malik Mutcherson broke for a 46-yard touchdown rush, and Lorine Parker rumbled for a 23-yard touchdown early in the second half. The Bulldogs' defense held Land O'Lakes to only 17 completions on 49 attempts.

But, for Roberts, the errors overshadowed the progress. His team fumbled six snaps and lost three other fumbles — signs of concern for a team that narrowly missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons.

"We've got to make a playoff run," Roberts said. "We can't do it with this kind of stuff we did tonight. We're a better team than we were tonight."

Land O'Lakes took advantage of some of the Bulldogs' mistakes. The Gators converted on third down early on James Pensyl's 8-yard touchdown pass to Javin Tandy.

Stefan Zapata added a highlight-reel 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and Deionte Strozier blocked a punt in the second half but couldn't capitalize with a score.

"They call it a kickoff classic for a reason," Gators coach Brian Wachtel said. "Tonight was a teaching moment."

Times staff writer Matt Baker can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @MattHomeTeam.

 
Comments
Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox Sr. was watching the NFL draft 24 years ago when the phone rang. Buffalo coach Marv Levy was on the other line."Marv said they were taking me," said Knox Sr., a standout receiver at FSU.Soon after, Knox Sr. saw his name scroll across ESPN'...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tough questions are mere child’s play for Kevin Knox

Tough questions are mere child’s play for Kevin Knox

Growing up, Kevin Knox II watched videos or listened to motivational tapes during car rides to and from school so he could learn how to expand upon answers in interviews.That was all by design.His father, Kevin Knox Sr., knew about the spotlight as a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning announce home opener: Oct. 6 vs. Panthers

Lightning announce home opener: Oct. 6 vs. Panthers

The Tampa Bay Lightning will announce their full 2018-19 schedule on Thursday, but the league announced each home opener Wednesday, with Tampa Bay playing host to the Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena on Saturday, Oct. 6.The Lightning will know their ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida State will host Florida Gators to open this basketball season

Florida State will host Florida Gators to open this basketball season

For the first time in almost two decades, Florida and Florida State will open the men's basketball season against each other.The Seminoles will host UF on Nov. 6, both programs announced Wednesday morning. FSU has won four in a row in the series."Any...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Times sports columnist Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to discuss Kevin Kiermaier's return to the Rays, whether Victor Hedman should win the Norris Trophy for the NHL's best defenseman, Bucs expectations for this season and Barry Trotz's next c...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Hillsborough County girls basketball team

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Hillsborough County girls basketball team

Player of the Year: Kaliah Henderson, Jr., RobinsonFirst teamG Brylee Bartram, Jr., Seffner ChristianG Jacquelyn LeVay, Sr., AlonsoF/G Tarriyonna Gary, So., Carrollwood DayF Tiasia McMillan, So., Carrollwood DayC Kendal Cheesman, Fr., PlantSecond tea...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Pinellas County girls basketball team

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Pinellas County girls basketball team

Player of the Year: November Morton, Sr., CountrysideFirst teamG Paris Williams, Sr., LakewoodG Summer Quigley, Jr., East LakeF Toi Smith, Sr., LakewoodF/G Carrie Lee, Sr., ClearwaterC Macey Zeh-Arndt, So., LakewoodSecond teamG Misha O'Neal, Sr., Cou...
Updated: 6 hours ago
How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

There was some interesting inside baseball elements that factored into the late innings of Tuesday's 2-1 Rays win.* First, on Matt Duffy's double off reliever Hector Rondon to lead off the eighth.Duffy said he doesn't like "to guess" what a pitcher i...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

HOUSTON — Energy.That's what Kevin Kiermaier said he felt he'd provide most in rejoining the Rays Tuesday against the Astros after missing two-plus months recovering from thumb surgery."I like to think I bring energy on both sides of the ball, ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

HOUSTON — The starting pitcher walked seven over seven otherwise solid innings Tuesday. That seemed weird enough for the Rays. Then the next pitcher they brought in was the one who started Monday's game. Even more bizarre.And then there was thi...
Updated: 10 hours ago