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Clearwater star Nash lets play do the talking

Even in a game of all-stars, Clearwater High's Phillip Nash can talk trash with the best.

By late Saturday night, though, it didn't matter what sort of words came from Nash's mouth.

It hurt to say anything.

Nash bruised his sternum in the first half of Florida-Georgia IX, a high school all-star football game between top prep stars from the two states.

But after halftime X-rays were negative, Nash returned to the Florida Citrus Bowl field.

And rather than talk a good game, Nash said, "I just had to show them what I could do."

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound free safety did that, making plays that told 12,892 spectators all they needed to know as Florida beat Georgia 21-7 to take a 5-3-1 series lead.

Nash roomed all week with another of Florida's big playmakers, Fort Myers product and University of Miami signee Jammi German. The consensus All-American caught three passes for 129 yards and was named the game's most valuable player.

Florida quarterback Thad Busby, a Florida State University recruit from Pace High in the Panhandle, completed 9-of-15 pass attempts for 249 yards and two touchdowns.

A bulk of Florida's passing yardage came in the third quarter: German took Busby's short throw and raced down the right sideline, picking up a key block from FSU-bound Melvin Pearsall of Lake Wales. He cut across the field, easily outracing Georgia's defenders for a 92-yard touchdown.

"I had good receivers in high school, good hands, but never anybody with (German's) kind of speed," Busby said. "It made a huge difference."

Busby found Daytona Beach-Seabreeze's Mike Hill (college undecided) with a 46-yard pass for Florida's first touchdown and Winter Haven's Demetrick Denmark added a 5-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.

Georgia kicker Scot Simons missed two first-quarter field goal attempts, from 43 and 42 yards.

Nash, meanwhile, was injured colliding with cornerback Jermaine Green of Brooksville Hernando High. Both were helped from the field with less than two minutes to go before halftime.

One play later, with reserves in for Nash and Green (who had the wind knocked out him), Georgia scored its lone touchdown. Marcus Robinson made a one-handed catch of quarterback Steve Everson's 36-yard pass.

But when the two secondary starters returned in the second half, Florida held Georgia to 86 yards.

"We wanted to shut them out," FSU signee Green said, "but we just had that one bad play."

Afterward Nash, a Times All-Suncoast and Class 4A All-State choice, mustered a few words through the pain.

But it wasn't easy: "I can't talk as loud as I want," he said.

Instead, the Syracuse University signee left it to reporters to spread the news.

"I was everywhere," he said. "Hey, right? Tell the truth _ I was everywhere."

Indeed, Nash seemed to be.

Like in the third quarter, shooting to the sideline for a crushing blow on a receiver that led to an incompletion and stalled a Georgia drive.

And like late in the game, tackling Georgia quarterback Mike Bobo on fourth down of a goal-line stand with less than two minutes to go.

"We didn't want them to get that final score," Nash said. "I saw (Bobo) coming, and I ran right into him."

Enough said.

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