By STEVE JACKSON
The Riverview Sharks and the East Bay Indians clash Friday night, Sept. 16, in a South Shore match up between unbeaten football teams. While the Sharks and the Indians both bring powerful offenses to the gridiron at East Bay Stadium, Sumner High School, on paper, shows all the signs of being the top football squad in the South Shore. The 3-0 Stingrays waltzed to their third straight shutout win last week and host 1-1 Gaither High this Friday night. (See more on Sumner in separate article in this week’s newspaper.)
Last week under the Friday night lights, Riverview stomped Chamberlain 59-0 to go 3-0. East Bay and Sickles forgot about defense as the Indians are now 2-0 after blasting the Gryphons 61-40. Spoto and Lennard also lost to drop to 0-3.
Hosting Sickles from Tampa, East Bay jumped out to a 21-19 first quarter lead at the Big Bend Road school. Sickles rallied to grab a 33-27 halftime lead. Indians Head Coach Mike Gottmann woke up his over-confident squad during the intermission. East Bay’s offense roared back with 27 third quarter points. The Indians held Sickle scoreless in the third quarter. Both teams added seven points in the fourth to make the final 61 – 40.
East Bay utilized the ground attack of five strong runners to pile up an amazing total of 516 rushing yards. Junior Jaelin Sneed banged out four TDs on a 19 for 174 yards rushing night. Senior quarterback Nathan Carter added a touchdown and carried the pigskin 18 times for 136 yards. Sophomore Armando Becceril also had a good night with his legs. On nine totes, Becceril piled up 126 yards and a score. The Ketchup brothers also both tallied touchdowns on the ground. Senior Vincent Ketchup ran nine times for 32 yards, and junior Isaiah Ketchup contributed 48 rushing yards on three carries. Carter kept the Sickles defense honest with four of eight passing for 67 yards. Senior Aiden Shows hauled in three passes for 53 yards and a trip to the end zone. Vincent Ketchup grabbed the other toss for 14 yards. Senior Braxton Maenza had a busy night kicking PATs, hitting seven of nine boots.
After a porous first half, East Bay’s defense buckled down and permitted only the Sickles last quarter touchdown. Leading the Indian defense was senior Emanuel White, with six tackles and a sack. Although Sickles QB Brandon Royal hit 16 of 24 passes for 261 yards, the Gryphons only compiled 80 rushing yards on 20 carries. East Bay seniors Issac Crump and Jaylin Albury helped White, registering a sack each. Crump also fell on a fumble. Kaleb Jones picked off a Royal aerial and Vincent Ketchup blocked a field goal attempt.
The Lennard Longhorns welcome a tough 1-2 Steibrenner squad to Ruskin Sept. 16. Steinbrenner routed Plant City last week 52-14. Coach Matt Kitchie’s Lennard team came up seven points short in the 22-15 defeat by Middleton. Starting quarterback Tyler Russell tried to go versus the Tigers in Tampa but gave way after one play to junior Liam McDowell. Russell twisted his ankle in the first half against Robinson, hurting the Horns chances in that loss Sept. 2.
“We will be working in practice this week, figuring out what to do,” commented Coach Kitchie, concerning the QB spot. Russell is still not ready to play this Friday night. “We are a young team,” the coach pointed out, “trying to get over the hump.”
Lennard came close to its first victory last week against Middleton. Horns senior running back Draiden Neidge churned out a TD on 106 yards rushing on 18 carries. McDowell hit 11 of 19 passing for 70 yards, four to Braylon Smith and a pair to Ryan Dunn. Sophomore Aiden Gibbons knocked in a PAT and hit two of two field goals, the longest a 41-yard kick. Two reliables again for Lennard were Elijah Durcueil, who hung a safety on Middleton, and Sammy Randle III with 101 yards returning kick offs, 21 yards returning punts and 17 yards returning an interception.
Winless Spoto also appeared improved somewhat but could not hang with an unbeaten Alonso squad. Coach Keith Chattin’s Spartans are looking on offense to quarterback Zorey Cotton and running back Corri Ponder to provide the points and the Spoto defense to stop or slow down hapless 0-3 King this Friday night at Spoto. The Spartans are favored to win their first game of the season versus the Lions, who were whipped 47-0 by Plant High last week.
Spoto could not protect its QB against Alonso. Cotton only mustered two of nine passing for a measly four yards. But the shifty sophomore Cotton rushed 16 times for 92 yards. Senior running back Ponder toted the ball eight times for 52 yards.
Defensively, Spoto was led by senior Jabari Judge with 11 tackles. Strong defensive support came from seniors Justin Baker and Takoi Brown. Juniors Doriean Williams and Julien Hughes are also stalwarts on the Spoto defense.
Riverview under new Head Coach Tony Rodriguez continues to enjoy an unbeaten campaign. The Sharks are looking for their fourth straight win of the year this Friday night versus East Bay. Last week, 3-0 Riverview cruised to another easy win. The Sharks have feasted on three cupcakes to open the season. Now the Riverview schedule gets a little more challenging.
The latest victim of the surprising Sharks was last Friday, a dominating 59-0 performance over weak Chamberlain High.
Junior quarterback Aaron Turner hit seven of 13 passes for 147 yards and three TDs. Senior Harry Hensley was on the receiving end of all three scores and totaled four grabs for 91 yards. Workhorse running back Nico Shoats carried five times for 44 yards and two scores against Chamberlain. Andrew Lee also contributed a TD and 35 yards rushing. Also contributing to Riverview’s offensive onslaught was kicker Warren Shriver. The sophomore hit all eight PATs for Riverview and sent a 40-yard field goal through the uprights.
Helping to shutout Chamberlain was Defensive Player of the Game Richard Noel. Overall, Alloysius Tyson was selected as Player of the Game. Riverview has not allowed a point this season, while scoring 158 itself with a rain-shortened one quarter victory over Freedom.