TAMPA — While suffering through a two-win campaign as sophomores, Steinbrenner’s current group of more than 30 seniors decided 2019 could be a memorable year if they stuck together.
So far so good.
The Warriors (4-0, 1-0) were dominant on both sides of the ball Friday night as they have been all year, crushing Alonso (1-3, 0-1) 47-7 in the Class 8A, District 7 opener for both teams. Steinbrenner has outscored its opponents 212-28 to start the season
“This team decided two years ago they were going to be special. They are relishing the moment. You see it on offense, and you see it on defense,” said coach Andres Perez.
Steinbrenner didn’t take long to get going as junior running back Deon Silas ripped off a 57-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage for a 7-0 lead, foreshadowing another huge night on offense for the Warriors.
Later in the first quarter, it was senior safety Jose Bautista taking a turn at running back and scoring on a 3-yard plunge. followed by senior Haden Carlson hitting junior Jett Law (three catches, 80 yards) on a 7-yard slant for a 20-0 Warrior lead after one quarter.
In the second quarter, it was more of the same. Silas (six carries, 152 yards) raced down the sideline for 44 yards and his second touchdown of the evening. Carlson (10-of-15, 202 yards, three touchdowns) increased the lead with touchdown tosses to Law (23 yards) and 6-foot-3 Iowa State commit Aidan Bitter (37 yards) for a 40-0 halftime lead.
The Steinbrenner defense was also stellar, intercepting Alonso quarterback Elijah Rhoden multiple times to stymie drives, with seniors Kaleb Moorer and Cameron Brown and junior Austin Brown all contributing picks. The pass rush harassed Rhoden all evening, with Dylan Earp, Garret Cates, Austin Brannen and Will Wabbersen all getting to the quarterback.
With Hillsborough and Plant up next, over the next few weeks Perez will rely on his large senior class to navigate this more difficult part of the schedule.
“We have a leadership council of seven guys who do an outstanding job. We have several other guys that are not part of that council that have really become leaders. It’s this group of 30 seniors. They have a goal in mind.”