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Monday, May 21, 2018
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Defense stays stout, leads Wolves to victory

Newsome may have come into Friday’s game against Tampa Bay Tech deflecting questions about a rebuilding year, but for coach Ken Hiscock’s team this year is nothing more than business as usual.

“We just played disciplined football,” Hiscock said. “Every guy on our team understands what they have to do, and they just go out there and do it.”

The Wolves have returned to the well, and in Friday’s 23-12 victory, the old stand-by of a strong defense proved to be the difference maker. Seniors Ramsey Bennett and Aaron Wade each had nine tackles in the win, and junior safety Bruce Anderson picked up eight tackles in limiting a speedy Titans offense keyed by quarterback Deon Cain. Bennett added an interception, while Anderson smothered a fumble in the game, and all three players worked as return men for the Wolves.

The key now, according to Hiscock, is to have his offense translate those defensive stands into points. The Wolves forced three Titans turnovers, but also gave the ball up five times in the game.

“Even though we gave up five turnovers in the game, we didn’t let up,” Hiscock said. “We need to have more ball security, but I’m proud that our guys didn’t quit.”

Kicking, kicking, kicking ...

There are no records kept for these types of things, but in Friday’s 41-14 victory against Alonso, Jefferson might have set a state record for kickoff team struggles.

In the second half, Jefferson lined up for a kickoff and proceeded to kick four consecutive balls out of bounds and was called for offsides on a fifth.

It wasn’t until the sixth attempt that the Dragons finally got a kickoff to stay in bounds. On that kick, however, Alonso returned it 70 yards to the Dragons’ 25-yard line.

Jefferson (1-0) might want to work on kickoffs a bit this week before it plays in a crucial Class 6A-District 8 matchup against Hillsborough (0-0).

Robinson’s tough road

In its first four games this season, Robinson has one of the toughest schedules in the state.

Friday’s first game was a 35-14 loss to Sickles (ranked No. 7 in Class 7A). Week 2 features a game against Plant (No. 3 in 8A), followed by Jefferson (No. 4 in 6A) and Armwood (No. 2 in 6A).

Indians prepare for rivalry

East Bay coach Frank LaRosa is always happy with a win, but the third-year coach said he saw a number of things his Indians team need to work on after their 22-3 three-quarter win against Lennard.

LaRosa said the defense did well, limiting Lennard to 95 yards.

“The defense really stood out, holding them to 95 yards in three quarters, and 60 of those came on one drive,” LaRosa said.

But there were some fundamental missteps Friday and mistakes East Bay won’t be able to make as they take on nearby rival Riverview on Friday.

“We are watching film, and you can see it is Week 1 and we aren’t doing all the fundamental things the way we need to do,” LaRosa said. “And for us as coaches, we need to evaluate the film and correct the techniques and missed assignments so that we can win football games against all these talented teams.”

The rivalry between the players of the nearby southeast county schools will be enough, but the coaches also have a stake in the game. LaRosa and many members of his staff coached under former Indians head coach Brian Thornton, now a member of his son, Mike’s staff at Riverview.

“It’s a neighborhood rivalry, so emotions will be high for our guys,” LaRosa said, “and Big (Brian) Thornton, their defensive coordinator, I cut my teeth coaching under him, so this will be a very hard-working week for me.”

The Sharks had a bye in Week 1 after cruising to a 56-0 win against Leto in the preseason.

Top performers

Craig Carrington, Armwood – The senior running back had 99 yards rushing and two touchdowns as the Hawks topped Durant 48-6.

Amani Oruwariye, Gaither – The senior has been incredibly versatile for the Cowboys and came through with an interception and a receiving touchdown in Gaither’s win at Chamberlain.

Juwuan Brown, Jefferson – The senior linebacker and South Florida commit swung the momentum to the Dragons’ side, returning a 70-yard interception for a touchdown in a 41-14 win.

Landon Galloway, Plant City – The Raiders signal-caller was efficient early, completing a pair of passes on his first series, including a touchdown pass, before adding a pair of scores on the ground to lead his team to a 25-10 win at Steinbrenner.

Ray Ray McCloud III, Sickles – The junior running back picked up where he left off in last year’s 1,300-yard, 12-rushing-touchdown season, chalking up 198 rushing yards and a touchdown in a 35-14 win against Robinson.

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