Friday Night West Pasco Wrap-Up
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCORES:
GULF 35 WIREGRASS RANCH 20
WESLEY CHAPEL— Both offenses started slowly before Gulf scored three touchdowns in the second period en route to a win over Wiregrass Ranch.
Wiregrass had early success on the ground, but the loss of running back Chase Oliver to a knee injury early in the game hampered the Bulls. Wiregrass put together a strong second drive, marching 48 yards with the aid of consecutive fourth-down conversions. But a third fourth-down try failed on Gulf's 25-yard line.
Gulf subsequently drove down the field, with quarterback Keshaun Peters receiving a 20-yard touchdown pass from running back Raiqwan Hayes.
Peters finished the game 6-for-10 for 87 yards passing, and added 74 yards rushing with two touchdowns. Gulf running back Avery Welch gained 68 yards on 19 rushes.
Wiregrass quarterback, Shane Bucenell completed 11 of 20 passes for 97 yards. He also ran for a score.
Wiregrass Ranch 0 7 13 0 — 20
WESLEY CHAPEL — Ridgewood and Fivay, who combined for 61 points in last year's meeting, got their offenses rolling early and had 44 points by halftime.
The Rams went on to squeeze out a 47-40 victory.
Ridgewood wasted no time showing off its improved attack, as quarterback Nick Michels (8-for-12, 130 yards, three TDs) found tight end Dominick Mathis wide open on a play-action rollout for a 46-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Fivay would not back down, as sophomore Cyler Doran (11-for-23, 136 yards, five TDs) tossed three first-half touchdown passes. Two of those went to wideout Trenton Soto, who finished with 94 yards receiving and four TDs.
The third quarter proved to be the difference. Ridgewood outscored Fivay 25-0 in the period to take control.
Rams tailback Glass Wilson, who led Pasco County in rushing last season, gained 116 yards on 23 carries. The Rams racked up 231 yards on the ground.
Ridgewood next will host Mitchell, which defeated Anclote 36-7.
RIVER RIDGE 21 LAND O' LAKES 14
NEW PORT RICHEY — Coming into the game against Land O' Lakes, the River Ridge coaching staff knew two things.
The Knights would have to run the ball to keep the high-powered Gator offense off the field, and would have to get a pass rush to slow the Land O' Lakes aerial attack led by quarterback James Pensyl.
Consider both missions accomplished as the hard-nosed running of Chris Schwartz (27 carries, 186 yards) and the defensive play of Dillon O'Toole (three sacks) propelled the Knights to a victory.
The Knights jumped out to leads of 14-0 and 21-6, but Land O' Lakes battled back behind the Oregon State-bound Pensyl, who threw for 210 yards and a touchdown.
Pensyl led the Gators on a 60-yard drive with under two minutes to go.
Facing a fourth down at the Knight 20-yard line with 33 seconds left, Pensyl found Ethan Wellant in the corner of the end zone for the potentially game-tying touchdown. But the Gators were penalized, because Wellant stepped out of bounds before the catch.
Pensyl's subsequent fourth-down pass was incomplete, and the Knights ran out the clock.
Land O' Lakes 0 0 6 8 — 14
TRINITY — Andy Schmitz won his first game as Mitchell's head coach, beating Anclote.
“It feels good, but I'm extremely proud of my team and all the hard work they put in. Seniors tonight did an excellent job,” Schmitz said.
Mustangs speedy back Ryan Marsh had 10 carries for 236 yards and three touchdowns.
He scored on a 48-yard run in the first quarter, then added a 51-yard run to put Mitchell ahead 15-0 at the end of one.
The Sharks couldn't get much going in the first half because of excessive penalties — 12 for 80 yards.
Mitchell opened the second half with an 89-yard touchdown run from Marsh to make it 22-0.
In the fourth, Alec Lambert connected on scoring strikes with Matthew Blackburn (21 yards) and Dominic Fiumara (41).
Anclote's lone score came on a Jonte Scott 85-yard punt return.
The Mitchell defense recorded five sacks.
For the Central Bears, accepting defeat has become a rite of passage the last few seasons. Learning to win, however, can be a whole different beast as an overconfident Central squad fell to the host Hudson Cobras on Friday night, 34-21.
Coming off a 14-9 preseason victory over Williston last week, the Bears (0-1) might have been riding a little too high for their own good.
“We got a little too big for ourselves after finally winning,” first-year Central skipper Chris Sands said. “We have to learn how to win. We came in feeling like the Dallas Cowboys and not a high school team.”
For a team that has gone 6-44 since 2009, with three of those wins coming by forfeit, Sands has already instilled a fighting mentality within this Central squad.
After falling behind 6-0 on a Billy Werner 20-yard scamper, Central would answer back by the end of the first quarter tying the score at 6 when quarterback Cody Brooks called his own number and rushed it in from 15 yards out.
Hudson would respond with two scores in the second quarter by quarterback Joey Caruso, who scored on runs of 10 and 12 yards, giving the hosts a 20-6 lead at the half.
The 20-6 deficit seemed larger for the Bears as they saw Brooks leave the game with an undisclosed injury, and a bunch of sloppy tackling.
“We overcame tonight and had a lot of guys step up,” Sands said. “Losing Cody hurt, but guys stepped up and made plays and we had a chance to win it at the end.”
Central scored to open the second half on a Davonte Bates run and cut the lead to 20-13 with 9:39 left in the third quarter.
The Bears would get no closer, however, as the Cobras would score 14 straight before the Central added a late touchdown.
Hudson (1-0) finished last season 6-5 en route to a playoff spot, and Sands acknowledged how playing tough competition like the Cobras could pay dividends for his team later on.
“Take nothing away from Hudson,” Sands said. “They played terrific, and they were a playoff team last year, but I'm proud of my guys for going toe-to-toe with them and giving themselves a chance to win.”
With Brooks' status uncertain for the Bears tilt next week at The Villages, Sands said his team had a lot of work to do.
“We moved the ball well but had some drives stall,” Sands recalled. “However, there needs to be better tackling. We can't come out and tackle like we did tonight. There needs to be some work done.”
While starting the season with a loss wasn't part of the game plan, Sands was confident in his team's ability to rebound quickly and get back to the winning ways.
“For some guys this is a humbling experience,” Sands said. “You want to win every game you play, but now we put this behind us, step off our pedestal that some guys thought they were on and get back to winning.
“Throughout the week some guys forgot the struggle it took to get on that pedestal and now they can remember how good it felt to win, and can get back on there next week.”
CEN 6 0 7 8 — 21
HUD 6 14 0 14 — 34