By STEPHEN JACKSON
Gridiron victories were as hard to come by for South Shore teams as a snowflake in Disneyland last week. Only Sumner High varsity registered a win, putting a 55-0 whipping on the East Bay JV. Sustaining lopsided losses were East Bay varsity, 53-21, to Wiregrass Ranch, Spoto, 62-0, to Hillsborough Terriers, and Riverview Sharks, 49-3, to Riverview Rams of Sarasota. The Lennard Longhorns dropped a hard-fought decision, 42 -22, to Ridge Community in Davenport.
All are looking for better outcomes Oct. 23 at 7:30 pm. Riverview, 1-4, hosts 3-3 Ridge Community. The Sharks, reeling from three straight defeats under Coach William Mosel, face the visitors from Davenport. A cinch to snap a 3-game losing streak, the Lennard Longhorns have the softest touch of the week. The hapless Haines City Hornets bring a 0-6 record to Ruskin. Haines City’s record is ugly, including a typical 82-0 loss to Lake Gibson last week. Spoto Coach Alfred Smith takes his 3-3 Spartans to Tampa to face 2-3 Middleton. Then King High visits Spoto’s Riverview campus Oct. 30. Coach Frank LaRosa’s EB Indians brace themselves for a tough closing agenda. Next up for EB is a visit to Tampa to face 4-1 Jefferson. Then Armwood brings its aerial circus to East Bay before the Indians end the regular season Nov. 6 with Chamberlain at home. Sumner varsity has another JV date Oct. 22 with the Lennard “little Longhorns” in Ruskin. Coach Ashwood’s Stingrays, on the road, then close out a remarkable season with the winless Brandon varsity.
On a perfect night for Florida Friday Night Under The Lights, Lennard could not summon the final push to overcome Ridge Community. Few fans from Ruskin attended due to the 80 mile, 1 ½ hour trek to Davenport, in Polk County, halfway between Lakeland and Orlando.
After falling behind 14-0 in the first half, the Longhorns, under interim coach Khris Ramsey, put together a scoring drive balanced with the passing of junior QB Gavin Henley and running of co-captain and senior Amarie Jones. Midway through the second quarter, Lennard did not fold, following up with an impressive drive with a mixture of Henley throws and wildcat runs with Amarie Jones. Henley found his favorite target, sure-handed soph Elijah Singleton, on 4th and long for a 32-yard TD pass and catch. The fake extra point was good with a crafty pass from holder co-captain Dax Corr to Amarie Jones to make it 14-8, and Ridge Community knew a battle was brewing.
Ridge Community’s Beau Herrington responded like a lightning bolt on the very next offensive play with a 76-yard scoring strike to push RC out to a 21-8 lead. On an offensive drive before intermission, Lennard got a break on a roughing the punter call on the Bolts. A rapid drive, riding Henley’s arm, led to running back Jakhi Davis’ 5-yard score. The extra made it 21-15. RC intercepted a desperation Hail Mary at the end of the first half.
The teams traded TDs in the third quarter. A Henley 23-yard strike to junior Ha’keem Monroe set up a 2-yard dive into the end zone by Chauncey Jones to bring the Longhorns to a tantalizing 28-22, heading to the final stanza.
At this point, the veritable unstoppable Herrington polished off the Longhorns with his fourth and fifth TDs of night. A controversial fourth down and inches possession call went against Lennard. The game ended 42-22, making for a long, somber bus drive back to Ruskin.