Saturday, Jul 26, 2014
Sports

Eagles overcome miscues, blank Hornets, 14-0

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WEEKI WACHEE - Despite everything that Daniel Wright accomplished Friday night, there were still the mistakes that lingered in his mind.

His personal performance reflected his team's, as Springstead and Weeki Wachee staved off the rain and the visiting Eagles rode their vaunted running game to a 14-0 victory.

The junior Wright, an All-County selection a year ago, was unstoppable most of the game, rushing 30 times for 230 yards.

But there were at least a couple of false starts he was responsible for, and a fumble near the goal line in the third quarter that gnawed at him.

"I'm excited. I'm really happy for it, but I still made a mental and physical error and I fumbled the ball, and I'm very upset about that," Wright said. "It's running through my head, I've got to get better.

"My O-line, I got to give all credit to them. They were outstanding, just putting them on roller skates, moving them back. And I just found the right holes and got out in the open field."

The inaugural regular-season meeting between these two local squads was the only contest in Hernando County to survive the deluge that assaulted the area - barely.

While Hernando and Central both called their games before they ever began, this one got underway after just a 15-minute delay.

Still, the rain started up again right around kickoff and remained heavy through the first quarter. A lightning strike at the 2:57 mark forced a stoppage that lasted 35 minutes.

From that point the conditions were considerably dryer, but the situation nevertheless played into the hands of Springstead (1-1) and its triple option.

The Eagles ran off 62 plays for 385 yards of total offense. They rushed 56 times for 341 yards, with Wright leading the way.

"Daniel is a unique runner in that he never, ever stops his feet, ever," Springstead head coach Mike Garofano said. "You never see the first guy tackle him. A guy can have a clean shot on him and square up on him and he'll spin out of it, or he'll keep the feet churning and run through it. You can't tackle him one-on-one, you just can't.

"He explodes out of the backfield. He got a few offside calls because he was so quick coming off the ball; too quick."

It was quarterback Tyler Mahla, though, who found the end zone twice in the second quarter, from five yards out with 9:02 to go in the half and three yards with 1:03 left.

Mahla, who already has three rushing touchdowns to start his senior year, carried the ball 18 times for 63 yards.

Now the downside for the Eagles: four fumbles, two of them lost, plus eight penalties for 60 yards.

"We couldn't put them away," Garofano said. "We're up 14-0, we're driving the ball, getting seven here, eight here, 10 here, just driving, driving, driving, and we shoot ourselves in the football. We fumble a snap, we fumble an exchange. We left at least 21 points out there, and it could have been more.

"We won the battle at the line of scrimmage and I think that was the difference in the game."

It was still a nice rebound from last week's humbling 42-14 loss at Citrus, and provided Garofano with his first official win as a head coach.

"This week was rough, semi-depressing after a loss," Garofano said. "It makes the work week a lot nicer heading into Nature Coast (next Friday)."

Meanwhile Weeki Wachee (1-1) held its own versus a playoff team from a year ago.

However, the offense could never completely get on track. The Hornets turned the ball over three times (two interceptions by Springstead's Conor Ross, one lost fumble) and were flagged nine times for 61 yards.

It didn't help that junior quarterback/wide receiver Marcus Allen sat out the first half due to a coach's decision.

"Defensively we made some adjustments in the second half. We had the bend but don't break. We came up with some great turnovers," Weeki Wachee head coach Mark Lee said.

"Offensively, we did OK from 20 to 20 or 30 to 30 and then when we got into the red zone we couldn't punch it in. We had key mistakes and Mike did a good job. Their defense was ready for us. We thought we were ready for them but we didn't execute like I thought we would."

cbernhardt@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5288

Springstead 14, Weeki Wachee 0

Qtr. Scoring 1 2 3 4

SPG 0 14 0 0 - 14

WW 0 0 0 0 - 0

Individual Scoring:

SPG - Mahla 5 run (Toth kick)

SPG - Mahla 3 run (Toth kick)

SPG WW

First Downs 20 12

Atts./Rushing Yds. 56-341 38-119

Comps./Pass/Atts/Int. 2-6-0 6-17-2

Passing Yds. 44 98

Total Offense 62-385 55-217

Return Yds. 2-22 0-0

Punts/Avg. 1-46.0 3-32.0

Fumbles/Lost 4-2 2-1

Penalties 8-60 9-61

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