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Four takeaways from the officials scrimmage at Clearwater Central Catholic

The host Marauders cruise to a 42-14 win over Ridge Ridge and St. Petersburg Catholic hangs on to beat Keswick Christian 20-14.
St. Petersburg Catholic quarterback CJ Denmark runs past Keswick Christian defenders on Friday night during an officials scrimmage at Clearwater Central Catholic. (LUIS SANTANA | Times)
Published Aug. 10

CLEARWATER —The Sunshine Officials Football Association held its preseason scrimmage on Friday.

About 50 officials showed up at Clearwater Central Catholic for classroom and onfield training. Florida High School Athletic Association executive director George Tomyn attended the first half of the St. Petersburg Catholic-Keswick Christian game. The host Marauders squared off against River Ridge in the other game. Both were played with 20-minute running clocks for each quarter.

The Barons showed off their talent at the skill positions to build a big enough lead to get by Keswick Christian 20-14. Clearwater Central Catholic scored multiple touchdowns on both sides of the ball to win 42-14. Here are four takeaways from the two games.

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The Barons’ bounty of playmakers

St. Petersburg Catholic has an abundance of skill players at its disposal. Better still, the Barons have them for a few years.

Sophomore quarterback CJ Denmark and junior receiver Desean Henry both return. The two hooked up on a 13-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter against the Crusaders. Denmark also had a 35-yard touchdown pass to junior Marco Palanagas.

It doesn’t end there.

D’Angelo Hutchinson, who had a sensational debut as a freshman last season, is back. His biggest impact came on the defensive side a year ago with a team-high seven interceptions. The sophomore had another pick Friday night to end the first half against Keswick.

But Hutchinson also could provide some oomph in the running game. He had several long runs in the scrimmage and capped off a third-quarter drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.

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Keswick capitalizes

If there was one thing St. Petersburg Catholic has to work on, its getting snaps down. Twice, the Barons had snaps sail over the quarterback’s head in the shotgun formation.

The Crusaders took advantage, recording a pair of safeties.

Keswick Christian’s first seven points were unconventional — two safeties coupled with a field goal by Josh Nordaas.

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Depth defying

Clearwater Central Catholic always has sturdy, steady linemen.

Trouble is, the Marauders typically do not have a ton of them.

Most are forced to play on both sides of the ball. And any injury leaves major voids in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

This year, the numbers are good, so much so that CCC might not have to play anyone both ways. The Marauders can also fill in for an injury and still keep humming.

It happened Friday night. Cade Wunsch, the son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Jerry Wunsch, was still nursing an injury and held out for precautionary reasons. So CCC rotated players in at Wunsch’s left tackle spot. The line opened big holes.

As a result, the Marauders put up big numbers.

Jordan Niles had more than 100 yards rushing in the first quarter and finished with two touchdowns. Terrion Williams also scored on a short run and Jarquez Green took a short pass from Zac Burrill and turned it into a long touchdown.

On defense, the line created pressure, resulting in big plays. Giancarlo Margarejo returned an interception for a touchdown and Kevary Jenkins scored on a fumble recovery.

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Big-time bruiser

A bright spot for River Ridge was the play of Anthony Roussos.

The junior, whose older brother Mikey plays for Columbia, set the tone early on a nice run up the middle. In the fourth quarter, Roussos took a short pass and plowed through CCC’s defense en route to a touchdown that rounded out the scoring.

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