By STEVE JACKSON
The East Bay Indians won their first game of the year, and the Riverview Sharks chalked up their second victory of the young season last Friday night. Two other South Shore high schools, Lennard and Sumner, both fell to powerful opponents. Spoto, the other gridiron team in the South Shore, was forced to postpone its game with Leto High until a later date, due to Spoto’s quarantining about 60 players due to Covid.
All five teams have contests this Friday, Sept. 3, at 7:30 p.m. East Bay and new Coach Mike Gottman travel to Dover, looking to improve its 1-1 record against Strawberry Crest. Riverview kicks off at home at 7:30 pm versus Middleton High of Tampa. After a loss to tough Newsome, Lennard has another top squad, Durant, coming to play in Ruskin. Sumner will be looking for its first win with a match-up against Leto High of Tampa at the Stingrays’ stadium. The Spoto Spartans are looking for their first win against Alonso.
Recapping last week’s action, after a rout on the wrong side in a Kick-off classic Aug. 20, East Bay picked up a win by shutting out Robinson 13-0 in Tampa. The Indians put together a winning effort behind quarterback junior Nathan Carter and running backs, senior Armone Bostick, senior James Thompson, junior Vincent Ketchup. Carter, Offensive Player of the Game, also scooted for 64 yards rushing and hit five of eight passing for 109 yards, four to Ketchup for 94 yards. East Bay held Robinson defensively behind Defensive Player of the Game, junior Ronde Roseboro.
Riverview’s Sharks gobbled up King High in Tampa 36 to 0. Quarterback Colin Larsen started the onslaught in the first quarter with a two-yard TD run. The Sharks’ Harrison Hensley then added a pair of short scoring runs and grabbed a 25-yard TD pass from Larsen to put Riverview in command at the half. A 12-yard rush by Dontarious Shoals in the third quarter topped off the Sharks’ offensive scoring. The Sharks tacked on a second quarter safety. David Apaza hit four of five PAT tries. Larsen hit 15 of 20 passes for 213 yards and a score. Shoats racked up 90 yards on 14 rushes. Zach Reviere collected six passes for 102 yards.
Lennard had its hands full all night with resilient Newsome, visiting from Lithia. In the early going, Lennard overcame an early 9-0 Newsome lead. The Wolves utilized a triple option on the ground to dominate the Longhorns defense. Newsome scored first on a 5-yard run.
Constant Newsome pressure on Lennard QB Gavin Henley meant the Horns were unable to get the run game established. This shortcoming led to a Lennard 3 and out.
After a Horn punt deep in its own territory, the Wolves started their second position at the 50. For this drive, Newsome got big plays for its speedy back #4 running sweeps to the outside and inside runs from #10. Fortunately, a big sack by Lennard’s senior linebacker, Braylon Henry, stalled the drive. However. Newsome responded with a 47-yard field goal to make it 9-0 Newsome.
The Horns finally came to life with the play of the game. First play from scrimmage was a vertical route and deep ball throw from Henley to junior wideout Eli Singleton for an 80-yard TD. The extra point was no good, and Newsome led 9-6 with 10:30 left in the 2nd quarter.
With momentum on their side, the Horns came up with some big defensive plays, led by senior cornerback Jayden Robertson and senior linebacker Dominick Murphy, which led to a Newsome punt. The Horns could not get the ground game going as the Wolves had an excellent game plan drawn up to stymie senior RB Chauncey Jones. The Horns punted.
Just as Lennard struck fast, so did Newsome with a 60-yard TD run from #4. The extra point was good. Newsome led 16-6 with a good PAT.
Determined not to make it easy for the Wolves, the Horns QB Henley found senior WR Ha’keem Monroe down the sideline for a 64-yard reception, which led to a 5-yard TD connection, Henley to Monroe. The PAT kick was good, and the Horns trailed 16-13.
The Wolves would strike again, quickly, with their lone pass completion, which was a 28-yard TD catch by #4. With 50 seconds left in the half, the Wolves pulled ahead 23-13.
Instead of running out the clock, Henley found Singleton on 4th and five with five seconds left for a crossing route that led to a 60-yard TD reception. Lennard went into the half with a deficit but with confidence and momentum.
Unfortunately, the start of second half kickoff changed all that. The Wolves took the kickoff all the way back. That made it 30-20 Newsome.
The second half saw more of the same: the Horns unable to get the ground game really going and Newsome using long sustained offensive drives to pull away.
The Lennard defense did its best when the Wolves tried to pass, with sacks in the second half by sophomore linebacker Lleydon Brush and junior defensive end Austin Gruber.
The Wolves scored again with a two-yard TD from #10 to finalize the scoring at 37-20. Neither team scored in the 4th although the Horns drove down to Newsome’s five late in the 4th but were unable to push it in. Lennard now is 1-1 with another tough encounter on the schedule, Durant.