NEW PORT RICHEY – It was a tough game week for Weeki Wachee head coach Mark Lee.
The Hornets’ lead man lost a close friend this past week and admitted his mind wasn’t completely focused on football.
Facing an athletic Gulf squad, which his team beat in a 50-49 overtime shootout last spring, the result this time around was more comparable to a defensive battle.
Weeki Wachee turned over the football three times and dropped a 21-8 decision to Gulf Thursday night at Des Little Stadium.
“It was a rough week for me personally,” Lee said. “I wasn’t even at most of the practices this week; I had a best friend since kindergarten pass away. The staff did a great job running things and the kids showed great effort tonight. Defensively we have to do a lot better and on offense we just have to execute.”
The Buccaneers controlled both lines of scrimmage, as Gulf’s backfield racked up over 200 yards rushing and nearly 300 yards of total offense.
Gulf quarterback Avery Welch sat out the spring game due to academic issues, but backup Morgan Smith filled in admirably and completed 6-of-9 passes for 54 yards and rushed for another 80.
Deandre Hopkins, who will be a sophomore this fall, displayed his talents on both the offensive and defensive endl. The ball hawk picked off two Weeki Wachee passes, including one returned 55 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, and caught two passes for 19 yards.
Gulf receiver RaiQwan Hayes had a solid evening catching the ball, hauling in a couple passes for 31 yards.
Weeki Wachee’s bright spots were few, as the team’s lone score came in the third quarter via a 47-yard touchdown run from Shawn O’Gorman. O’Gorman finished the night rushing for 88 yards off eight carries, completed 2-of-5 passes for 11 yards and caught a pass for eight yards.
“I think we learned to hold each other accountable heading into the fall,” O’Gorman said. “We see where we have to work at. We need to get guys in the weight room and just work hard this summer.”