Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Sports

Boys soccer: Palm Harbor University 2, Wiregrass Ranch 1 (OT)

TAMPA — From the start of Friday's Class 5A, District 7 championship between Wiregrass Ranch and Palm Harbor University, the Bulls had chance after chance thanks to several throw-ins near the goal.

But the Hurricanes didn't waver — neither then, nor even after Wiregrass Ranch scored the first goal of the game in the 42nd minute.

Because if any team knows how to claw its way back in, coach Shaun Falcon said, it's PHU.

"They've been down, and they've come back and scored, so for them, to be down is not anything foreign," Falcon said. "They've never panicked. They've just said, 'Hey, we have the skill and ability to get back into it.' "

And the Hurricanes wasted no time doing just that.

Just one minute after Fernando Alicea scored for the Bulls the second half, senior Sergio Enciso scored on a free kick to tie it up. That tie remained through the end of regulation and a first overtime until Enciso struck again, assisting Edin Hernandez on the winning golden goal with four minutes to play, handing the Hurricanes a 2-1 victory and a district championship.

"I mean, me and my friend Serg, we were planning on it. We said, 'That's the right moment,' " Hernandez said of the winner. "We looked in each other's eyes, and we knew it was it."

The first time PHU (9-6-2) and Wiregrass Ranch (20-2-3) met this season, the game ended in a 1-1 tie. And throughout the first half of Friday's rematch, it appeared the second game would play out in a similar fashion. While Wiregrass Ranch had its chances early, the PHU defense staved off the attack.

After the early goals in the second half, it was more back and forth until the final minute of regulation, when Wiregrass Ranch had a shot that went just over the cross bar and another near goal after a throw in.

When golden-goal overtime began, Falcon challenged his team to score in the first 10-minute period, while the wind was working in the Hurricanes' favor.

It took them a little longer than that, but less than five minutes from what would have been decisive penalty kicks, Enciso's big leg delivered for PHU once again on his corner kick turned assist.

"All season (he's done it). He's been our heart and soul," Falcon said. "He's a quiet guy who works hard and leads by example. He's an irreplaceable guy."

During the course of the season, Palm Harbor University took its lumps, losing five games by just one goal and earning the fifth seed out of six teams in the tough 5A-7 tournament. But in the end, it was those very failures, Hernandez said, that put the Hurricanes back on the right path.

"We just had to leave everything in the past," he said, "and keep our eyes on the future."

Comments
SEC media days: Can Dan Mullen fix Florida Gators’ broken foundation?

SEC media days: Can Dan Mullen fix Florida Gators’ broken foundation?

ATLANTA — When coach Dan Mullen evaluated the 4-7 Gators team he inherited, he saw a problem bigger than its quarterback play and more damning than a defense that produced the worst statistical season since World War II.He saw a program wi...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
MLB commissioner confident Rays owner is ‘going to get’ stadium deal done

MLB commissioner confident Rays owner is ‘going to get’ stadium deal done

WASHINGTON – Acknowledging both the challenges and urgency to work out a public-private financing plan, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday expressed extreme confidence in Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg to make a de...
Updated: 4 hours ago
SEC media days: Dan Mullen on quarterbacks battle and transfers

SEC media days: Dan Mullen on quarterbacks battle and transfers

ATLANTA — The Florida Gators are up this afternoon at SEC media days. A few highlights from an early session with coach Dan Mullen and offensive lineman Martez Ivey, defensive lineman Cece Jefferson and linebacker David Reese:Mullen had no...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Golfing with the guys is nothing new for Brittany Lincicome

Golfing with the guys is nothing new for Brittany Lincicome

GULFPORT — Brittany Lincicome is a bit uncomfortable. It's not the scorching heat on this particular morning at Pasadena Country Club. And it's not the humidity.It's the pants.They arrived in the mail a few days earlier and she's giving them a ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
SEC media days: On Gators’ Van Jefferson and UCF’s McKenzie Milton

SEC media days: On Gators’ Van Jefferson and UCF’s McKenzie Milton

ATLANTA — We still don't know whether receiver Van Jefferson will be eligible at Florida.But we do know how one of his former quarterbacks feels about his potential in Gainesville."He's just an explosive guy," Ole Miss quarterback Jordan T...
Updated: 6 hours ago
SEC media days: Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen shows off his shoes

SEC media days: Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen shows off his shoes

ATLANTA — The wait appears to be over.Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen snapped a photo of his new Jordans, presumably the sneakers he will be wearing with his suit today during SEC media days.pic.twitter.com/To0vESgkCn— Dan Mullen (@C...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Former Dan Mullen signee Cord Sandberg names 3 finalists

Former Dan Mullen signee Cord Sandberg names 3 finalists

It appears Dan Mullen won't get a second shot at coaching former Manatee High four-star QB Cord Sandberg.Sandberg, returning to football after spending the past half-decade in the Phillies organization, said Tuesday morning he has narrowed his colleg...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Barry Sanders turns 50: Watch some of his 2,195 yards vs. Bucs

Barry Sanders turns 50: Watch some of his 2,195 yards vs. Bucs

Lions legend Barry Sanders turned 50 on Monday, and as a tribute, the NFL posted a 10-minute highlight video of the Hall of Famer's top 50 runs. As any older Bucs fans can attest, many of them came at the expense of Tampa Bay's defense, seen chasing ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jimbo Fisher discusses Florida State, Jameis Winston

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jimbo Fisher discusses Florida State, Jameis Winston

Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher was front and center Monday at SEC media days and spoke about leaving Florida State and why Jameis Winston will have no problem moving on from his suspension.Plus, Blake Snell might be the third AL pitcher ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs running back Ronald Jones eager to prove himself as rookie

Bucs running back Ronald Jones eager to prove himself as rookie

Bucs rookies report to training camp Monday, in less than a week, but running back Ronald Jones has offered fun insights into his preparation with a 10-minute video interview with his hometown paper back in Texas, the McKinney Courier-Gazette."I defi...
Updated: 10 hours ago