SPRING HILL — Preseason games are usually a good gauge of where teams stand entering the season. But even after Springstead's 55-0 win over Hudson on Thursday night, Eagles coach Mike Garofano was cautiously optimistic.
He thought depth might be an issue with only 30 varsity players dressed.
"I didn't really know what to expect," he said. "I do think we have the talent to impose our will teams. But we'll see."
The Eagles had no trouble on offense, especially with the run game. Toby Rahman, a Weeki Wachee transfer, ran for 72 yards and scored on a 2-yard run late in the third quarter. Damian Giles, a senior running back who missed last season due to health issues, scored a touchdown and gained 53 yards.
Quarterback/running back Nathan Sims scored a rushing touchdown and threw for another. And running back Anthony Alexis scored on a 33-yard run and caught a 25-yard touchdown pass. Unfortunately, Alexis fractured his leg in the second quarter and could miss a majority of the season.
"Anthony got hurt and that is very unfortunate," Giles said. "That doesn't put any extra burden on me, but I will be making some plays out there this season. I've been preparing all off season for this."
Springstead scored all four times it touched the ball in the first quarter. After stopping the Cobras on downs to start the game, the Eagles went on a five-play, 43-yard drive that ended on a 1-yard plunge by Sims.
Then came a pooched kickoff that Hudson failed to cover. Springstead got the ball back on the 30-yard line and scored two plays later on the TD pass from Sims to Alexis. It became 21-0 minutes later thanks again to Alexis, who was injured on the next series.
"We got humbled," Hudson coach Tim Hicks said. "I think we kind of thought we were better than we were. I do think we are a good team and we have good players, and I think we'll be fine in the long run."
Giles made it 28-0 late in the first quarter on a 1-yard run. He ran 25 yards on the play prior to the touchdown. The Springstead defense got into the act in the second quarter. Adrian Fribley picked off a Dylan Dilandro pass and ran it back 21 yards to make it 35-0.
And just to make things more miserable for the Cobras in the first half, quarterback Max O'Rourke scored untouched from 2 yards to make it 42-0 at halftime.
The second half was more of the same. Rahman scored on a 2-yard run in the third, and Luke Capoocia scored on a 55-yard interception return for the final score.
The junior varsity teams played in the fourth quarter.
Dilandro had a tough start at quarterback for Hudson. He threw three interceptions and was sacked three times. One bright spot was defensive back Dominick Rutigliano, who had two interceptions.
"We thought our offense would be pretty successful," Hicks said. "It didn't work out that way. But I still think we can compete for a district championship. If we can beat Pasco next week, then this never happened. The sun will come up tomorrow."