WEEKI WACHEE A year ago, Coach Mark Lee and the Weeki Wachee Hornets won three games.
This year he promised a more up-tempo offense, and it was on display in the team's spring game in full force.
The Hornets emerged victorious in a 50-49 overtime thriller against a tough Gulf Buccaneer team, in what was a slugfest from the beginning.
"We ran six plays the first quarter," Lee said. "We couldn't get anything going. But in the second half we felt we could move the ball in the second half with teams getting tired."
The up-tempo offense led to lots of running room for the Hornets, who were paced by Marcus Allen and his 17 carries for 165 yards and four touchdowns.
However, Allen fumbled twice and Lee was quick to point that out.
"We can't turn the ball over as much," Lee said. "We only had a seven-point lead several times and to cough it up could come back to get us."
The Hornets had 365 yards of total offense and got to the line and snapped the ball within 10 seconds most of the night, leaving the chain gang scrambling to catch up.
"Teams have players play both ways," Lee said. "When they do, we can wear them out late in games and that was the whole idea behind the up-tempo."
The Buccaneers jumped out to an early 7-0 lead when quarterback Ke'Shaun Peters rushed for a 1-yard score.
The Hornets would answer back when David Tinch hit a streaking Dayonta Patterson for a 70-yard score as the first quarter clock hit triple zeros.
The teams would trade scoring blows until Allen sprinted into the end zone on a sweep from 29 yards out with a little over six minutes left, a score that looked to be the decisive and final blow.
The Buccaneers showed great resolve scoring with just over a minute left in regulation when the shifty Peters shook the Hornets defense and sprinted 44-yards to pay dirt.
This one headed to overtime, a rare occurrence for spring games, with teams alternating scoring chances from 10 yards out.
Gulf had the first possession and scored on fourth-and-goal from the 8-yard line when Avery Welch threw a bullet to Montavious Reed.
The Hornets would have the final answer when Allen went left end from five yards out to get into the end zone.
Lee made the decision to go for two and the win, and when Allen dove into the end zone the final buzzer sounded and the Hornets came out on top.
"We had an unbelievable spring," Lee said. "When we get healthy and have Andrew Vereen at fullback, Jon King and Allen at tailback and Tinch under center, we will be dangerous."
Weeki Wachee 50, Gulf 49 (OT)
Qtr. Scoring 1 2 3 4 OT
GUL 7 14 7 7 7 -- 49
WW 7 13 15 7 8 -- 50
GUL - Peters 1 run (Kick is good)
WW - Patterson 70 pass from Tinch (Tinch kick)
WW - O'Gorman 47 fumble recovery (Tinch kick no good)
GUL - Welch 68 run (Kick is good)
GUL - Reed 14 run (Kick is good)
WW - Allen 9 run (Tinch kick)
GUL - Welch 3 run (Kick is good)
WW - Allen 62 run (King pass from Tinch)
WW - Tinch 1 run (Tinch kick)
GUL - Peters 40 run (Kick is good)
WW - Allen 29 run (Tinch kick)
GUL - Peters 44 run (Kick is good)
GUL - Reed 7 pass from Welch (Kick is good)
WW - Allen 5 run (Allen run)
First Downs 14 14
Att/Rush Yds 52-378 43-252
Comps//Pass Att./Int. 5-22-1 5-22-0
Passing Yards 87 113
Total Offense 74-465 65-365
Return Yds 0 0
Punts/Avg 5-32.4 7-33.4
Fumbles/Lost 3-1 4-2
Penalties 11-192 14-149