HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCORES
(6-3, 5-0) Anclote 35, (6-3, 4-1) Hudson 14
HOLIDAY — It has been a long time coming for Anclote. Five seasons, to be exact.
From an 0-10 record in 2009 to hosting a postseason game in 2013 is the scenario the Sharks have put together for themselves.
Anclote defeated Hudson 35-14 Friday night at Anclote Stadium behind a 188-yard performance from running back Willie Barrett. The Sharks won the Class 5A-District 7 title and will host a playoff game for the first time.
“Unbelievable,” Anclote coach Matt Wicks said. “It’s five years of hard work. It’s blood, sweat, tears, attitudes, reeling it back in and channeling it to something better. It’s the relationships we’ve built with these kids, and sometimes it can get a little testy out there.”
Hard hitting, jawing and the occasional extra push were seen during Friday’s contest as emotions ran high with the district title on the line.
Anclote (6-3, 5-0) scored first when quarterback Brandon Vinkler completed his only pass of the night, a 36-yard touchdown to Barrett, to open a 7-0 lead with 5:15 left in the opening period.
Barrett would strike again, this time on the ground as the 215-pounder sprinted 52 yards for his second score of the game. After Anclote picked up a fumble and returned it for a TD, Hudson (6-3, 4-1) answered with a score when running back Zach Russell (four carries, 66 yards) lined up at quarterback in a Wildcat formation and broke free off tackle for a 65-yard score to cut the lead to 21-7.
Right before halftime, however, disaster hit Hudson. Anclote had less than 10 seconds to run a play from scrimmage, and a simple dive call to Barrett turned into a 65-yard TD and gave the Sharks a 28-7 lead.
“Well, Coach called a dive and my line shot off the ball really well,” Barrett said. “They got to the second level, and there was a big hole and no one to make a move on, so I took it to the house.”
The game almost took a turn for the worse midway through the fourth quarter after Anclote’s final score, as Hudson running back Noah Siegrist (21 carries, 98 yards) took a big hit and was down for a few minutes. Siegrist was able to walk off the field. He would not return to the game and was replaced by Justyn Johnson (four carries, 12 yards).
Hudson quarterback Joey Caruso went 6-for-12 for 61 yards.
With Tarpon Springs’ win over Boca Ciega, Anclote will host the Spongers in a rematch of the preseason. Hudson will travel to Lakewood.
(8-1, 3-1) Sunlake 37, (3-6, 0-4) Fivay 3
HUDSON — Sunlake used the recipe it has used all season to great success. On offense, give the ball to junior Nathan Johnson. Sunlake did that on the first play of the game Friday night — 80 yards later, it was 7-0 Seahawks.
Defensively, it was the typical smothering unit that head coach Bill Browning has become accustomed to. Sunlake held Fivay to 86 total yards, while only a school-record 48-yard field goal by Fivay’s Josh Jones in the fourth quarter denied Sunlake the shutout.
The rushing attack of Sunlake carried the Seahawks all night. Johnson finished with 116 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Speedy wingback Ricardo Williams pitched in 116 yards on just four carries. Sunlake rushed for more than 300 yards, and raced to a 37-0 halftime lead, causing the second half to be played under a running clock.
With Springstead’s win against Land O’ Lakes clinching Class 6A-District 6, Sunlake will be the district runner-up and travel to Gainesville High in two weeks for the state playoffs.
“We would’ve liked the shot to win the district in a shootout,” Browning said, “but we’ll accept it and take it one game at a time.”
(3-7, 3-2) Ridgewood 29, (3-6, 2-3) River Ridge 27
NEW PORT RICHEY — For the second consecutive week, Ridgewood survived an opponent’s last-second pass into the end zone, as the visiting Rams (3-7) came from behind to defeat River Ridge.
The Royal Knights (3-6), who were celebrating homecoming, led for most of the game. In the first quarter, Ben Perdomo surpassed 1,000 yards rushing for the season, setting up River Ridge’s first score. Perdomo carried 20 times for 119 yards before injuring his left shoulder in the third quarter.
The Rams were led by sophomore running back Glass Wilson (26 rushes, 217 yards), who scored four touchdowns.
Trailing 27-15 in the fourth quarter, the Rams scored on consecutive possessions and took their first lead of the game with 1:05 remaining.
“We needed to tackle better, so we practiced hard on it all week,” said Rams head coach Jay Fulmer.
“I also had QB Nick Michaels, our best defender, play outside linebacker. He helped make a big difference in stopping their run.”
(1-8, 1-4) Gulf 48, (0-9, 0-5) Wesley Chapel 0
NEW PORT RICHEY — Gulf was able to win its first game of the season and snapped a 19-game losing streak by decisively shutting out Wesley Chapel on Friday night at Des Little Stadium.
Gulf’s last victory was against Hudson, 33-17 on Oct. 28, 2011.
Gulf junior quarterback Avery Welch (8 of 18, 161 yards) had a big night connecting with tight end James Grubb (four catches, 115 yards), with the duo hooking up three times for touchdowns, twice in the first half and once in the third quarter.
Gulf scored three touchdowns in the second quarter and led 27-0 at halftime.
Buccaneers senior punt returner and defensive back Montavious Reed had a big night as well, scoring on a 46-yard punt return to start the second-quarter scoring and a 33-yard interception return later in the second quarter.
Senior Joey Nickerson also added a score on a 1-yard run.
Gulf closes out the season next week at Mitchell, while Wesley Chapel hosts Wiregrass Ranch.
OTHER SCORES AROUND PASCO:
(6-3, 4-2) Pasco 24, (7-2, 4-2) Zephyrhills 16
(8-1, 4-0) Springstead 34, (7-2, 2-2) Land O’ Lakes 21
(4-5, 1-4) Wiregrass Ranch 25, (1-8, 0-5) Freedom 14