By STEVE JACKSON
The Lennard Longhorns continue to stampede opponents. The latest victim of the orange and white onslaught was the Wharton Wildcats, 38-0, in a game delayed one night due to the Dorian threat.
The Wildcats, like Lennard, came into the game 2-0. Unlike 3-0 Lennard, Wharton bussed back bruised and battered to Tampa 2-1. Next up for Coach Matt Kitchie’s 2019 wonder boys is Newsome at Lithia Friday night in a conference game. Newsome, 2-1 after toppling Alonso last weekend, will be trying to be the first team this season to score on Lennard.
Against Wharton, Lennard put on an offensive fireworks display, combined with a dynamic defense, to coast on a running clock after piling up a 38-0 halftime lead. At the conclusion of the resounding victory, Lennard players and fans celebrated the win, singing and dancing Lennard’s fight song in front of the student section. The third straight early-season win matches the victory total for the 2018 and 2017 seasons combined. It’s the best start for Lennard since pre-Kitchie days when the Horns jumped out to a 5-0 mark in 2015 and then went 2-4 to complete that season 7-4.
“This was special,” Kitchie remarked after the game. “These kids have gone through rough times here and have created an amazing bond.”
Most of Lennard’s damage was administered in a first half offensive flurry. Junior Quay Smith scored a pair of TDs. Running back Tino Hunt put an exclamation point on the first half outburst by closing out the scoring for the night. Hunt, a workhorse runner last season, is still getting his touches but getting tons of support in the offensive repertoire from a powerful, veteran line and scatback Smith and the bulldozer #52 Davion Papius, who also makes his presence known on defense. Lennard is also receiving consistent running and passing from sophomore QB Gavin Henley, who is exhibiting prowess as a game manager for Kitchie’s offense. And senior Jocelyn Diaz continues to contribute with her leg, drilling all 5 extra points after the TDs. Diaz nailed a 27-yard field goal to boot!
Papius, proving he can do more than plow up the middle, ran 63-yards for a TD. Hunt added 143 yards on the ground. Overall player of the game for Lennard was Papius. Hunt was the offensive player of the game, and designated as special team player of the game was #22 Camari Richardson.
Speaking to news media after the game, Kitchie remarked, “I would like us to show that we can be consistently good and that our success this year is not an anomaly. I hope we lay a great foundation for our future.”
By Steve Jackson
Two South Shore high school football teams heading in opposite directions, record-wise and geographically, take to the road this Friday night in a quick turnaround after playing games earlier this week. Both Riverview High and Spoto moved their usual Friday night games to Sept. 9 out of respect for the unpredictability of Dorian which headed north after slightly impacting Florida’s east coast.
Coach William Mosel’s Sharks do not seem to mind what day of the week they play football. Riverview ran its early-season record to 3-0, devouring the Brandon Eagles in Riverview 38-14. The Eagles dropped their third straight without a win. Later this week, Riverview has another non-conference game. If all goes well, the Sharks should easily return home late Friday night with victory number 4. Their opponent, the Haines City Hornets, have no sting this year. Haines City is coming off a 77-0 demolition at the hands of Lake Wales. The Hornets dropped their first two games of the season 42-0 to Auburndale and 35-7 to Bartow.
Spoto, the other Riverview high school, buses over to Tampa Friday evening to face a 0-2 Freedom Patriots team in a non-conference match-up of winless teams. Coach Cassius Crawford’s Spartans may have found a better match in the Patriots who have have lost 40-10 to Robinson and 68-0 to Steinbrenner. In their Sept. 9 hook-up with Steinbrenner, Spoto did not do much better. The Warriors skated out to a 56-0 halftime lead at Spoto. Then the game we mercifully called at the end of the third quarter due to lightning the area. Steinbrenner is 3-0 and Spoto is 0-3 on the season.