Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Sports

Warriors set new course

SEMINOLE — Osceola's schedule was not exactly the blueprint for getting off to a fast start. There were games against 2011 playoff teams Pinellas Park and Largo, and others against resurgent Northeast and always-tough St. Petersburg.

The result? A 1-3 start.

Then came the more manageable part of the schedule with matchups against Seminole, Boca Ciega and Clearwater. More than just feasting on struggling programs, the Warriors have gained a handle on coach George Palmer's schemes and his idea for the way football should be played.

The result? Three straight victories.

This is more than a turnabout, a reversal of fortune, a shedding of old skin. The offense runs the ball. The defense not only shuts down teams, but makes game-swinging plays. The special teams make an impact. And the interlocking play among those three phases has helped make this team whole.

Tonight, Osceola (4-3, 1-1) hosts Tarpon Springs (3-4, 1-1) in a Class 6A, District 7 game that has serious postseason implications. If the Warriors win, they will have gone from 1-3 to playoff contender.

"We're shortening the field, eliminating the turnovers and playing well defensively," Palmer said. "All of those things have helped give us a chance to win, and we've been able to put a few victories together."

This kind of turnaround is not unprecedented. Last year, Osceola started 1-5 before winning three of its last four, including an upset of the Spongers that kept the Warriors in the playoff picture until their final district game.

Another run didn't seem possible at the beginning of the season, especially after Osceola lost receiver/linebacker Kyle Brittain, who transferred to Clearwater Central Catholic.

"A lot of people on the outside probably didn't think we could do much," defensive back Austin Lawrence said. "But I always thought the playoffs were a possibility. We came on at the end of last season, and I think that helped us know we can compete."

Lawrence has contributed by creating timely turnovers. He has five interceptions, including four in last week's win over Clearwater.

On offense, the Warriors churn up the clock with backs such as Jamil Morris, who scored twice against the Tornadoes. They also filter in a few big-play passes from quarterback Andrew Matyk.

"We feel like we're doing what we need to do to keep this going," Lawrence said. "If we keep playing as a team, we can win the rest of our games and make the playoffs."

Comments
Louis Domingue gets start, relishing second chance with Lightning

Louis Domingue gets start, relishing second chance with Lightning

Louis Domingue is back to his old rookie days.He's living in a hotel, unsure how long he'll stick in the NHL. All the Tampa Bay backup goalie knows is he's starting tonight against Nashville.But Domingue, 25, doesn't mind at all, considering he nearl...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A fan’s guide to the fun and celebrities at Tampa’s NHL All-Star Game

A fan’s guide to the fun and celebrities at Tampa’s NHL All-Star Game

So you don’t have a ticket to the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday in Tampa, but you still want to feel like you’re in on the action. No problem. “Our mindset is, few are honored with a ticket to the game,” said Steve Mayer, the N...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Getting into baseballís Hall of Fame is hard. Voting isnít easy either.

Getting into baseballís Hall of Fame is hard. Voting isnít easy either.

First, let's make this clear:Voting for the Hall of Fame is truly a cool thing. An honor. A privilege. A labor of love, from putting an X next to names of obvious choices, such as Chipper Jones and Jim Thome, to spending hours of research and interna...
Updated: 2 hours ago
HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. St. Petersburg (13-2)This week: Tuesday vs. Seminole; Wednesday vs. Pinellas Park; Friday vs. LakewoodThe buzz: It's hard to knock the Green Devils out of the top spot after last weekend's performance against Oak Hill (Va.) Academy at the National...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Jones: Tampa Bay needs a playoff push. Save us, Lightning

Jones: Tampa Bay needs a playoff push. Save us, Lightning

Stammer. Vasy. Kuuuuch.It's up to you guys now.Heddy. Johnnie. Coop.We need you now more than ever.A community turns its lonely eyes to you, Tampa Bay Lightning. Time to save us. You're all we have.The Rays? Pitchers and catchers and allegedly Matt D...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Go a step beyond basketball junkie, and thatís UTís Staja Tyghter

Go a step beyond basketball junkie, and thatís UTís Staja Tyghter

TAMPA ó Sheís the leading scorer and rebounder for the University of Tampaís womenís basketball team, so junior Staja Tyghter has clearly made an impact during her first season on UTís campus.It didnít happen by accident."Youíve heard of terms like Ď...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Chris Archer, Kevin Kiermaier among Rays slated to sign autographs at Fan Fest

Chris Archer, Kevin Kiermaier among Rays slated to sign autographs at Fan Fest

Six of the top Rays players will be signing autographs at the Feb. 10 Fan Fest for a $20 fee that goes to charity.Players slated to sign — and subject to change — are Chris Archer, Kevin Kiermaier, Jake Odorizzi, Wilson Ramos, M...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Athlon: Quinton Flowersí performance at UCF best of 2017

Athlon: Quinton Flowersí performance at UCF best of 2017

A month after his college career ended, Quinton Flowers remains the highlight reel that keeps on rolling.Athlon Sports has ranked Flowers' 605-yard effort at UCF as the best individual performance of the 2017 college season.Among the performances it ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
From the archives: A glimpse into a top prospect, Berkeley Prepís Nelson Agholor

From the archives: A glimpse into a top prospect, Berkeley Prepís Nelson Agholor

Editor's note: This story originally published on Jan. 22, 2012. Since Berkeley Prep alumnus Nelson Agholor is set to play in this year's Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles, we thought our readers might enjoy a blast from the past. A glori...
Updated: 5 hours ago
ESPNís prospect list has four Rays in top 34, led by Brent Honeywell and Willy Adames

ESPNís prospect list has four Rays in top 34, led by Brent Honeywell and Willy Adames

Four Rays ranked in the top 34 spots in prospect rankings compiled by ESPN's Keith Law.RHP Brent Honeywell, a 2014 draftee, was slated 15th and SS Willy Adames, acquired from Detroit in the 2014 trade of David Price, was 20th.1B/LHP Brendan McKay, th...
Updated: 6 hours ago