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Friday night rewind

By BRANT JAMES, FRANK PASTOR, KRISTEN LEIGH PORTER and THOMAS GEMKOW
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 8, 2002

QUOTABLE

"We kind of took it personal because they beat us last year pretty soundly. This shows if you don't give up and if you play together, good things happen. It's called heart." -- Isaiah Webb, Citrus running back, on avenging a 34-14 loss to Central.

GAME BALLS

TIM GAYNOR, CENTRAL: Hampered by a mild ankle injured in practice Monday, Gaynor rushed 25 times for 124 yards and a touchdown.

R.J. COBB, CITRUS: The tailback didn't so much run as glide for 108 yards on 21 carries, flowing through huge gashes in the Central defense.

JARVIS PATTERSON: Patterson puts to rest any doubts about Lecanto's running attack. Rushing for 237 yards on 33 carries, Patterson single-handedly scored all his team's points in a 28-13 win over Tavares.

LECANTO OFFENSIVE LINE: Seniors Chris Reeves, Jimmy Sudlow, Ron Curtis, Casey Potts, Steven Brainaird and Nate Edwards manhandled Tavares up front, clearing the way for the Panthers to run for 322 yards on 47 carries, while holding Tavares to 103 rushing yards.

JACOB McCLELLAND: The senior made two key special-team stops, and lit up Tavares quarterback Steven Brooker, forcing a fumble with five minutes left to end a possible scoring drive. McClelland also caught Lecanto's only pass of the night: a 12-yarder from quarterback Phil Reed on a high punt snap.

RYAN MCNALLY, CRYSTAL RIVER: The senior heard his name called over the loudspeaker on both offense and defense all night long. Although he averaged 8.9 yards per carry last season and although had just 3.2 yards per carry against South Sumter, he had to earn every yard.

EARL EVERETT, SOUTH SUMTER: The Miami/Florida/anywhere recruit is as good as advertised. The senior all-stater did everything for the Pirates, even though he sat out the end of the game with an ice pack.

SHERMAN INMAN, SOUTH SUMTER: In his 19th year, Inman could have one of his best teams ever. Yet he still believes the Raiders need to play better than they did against Crystal River to make it to the state semifinals for the third year in a row.

CHRIS BUNCH, CRYSTAL RIVER: The speedy junior quarterback threw two touchdown passes in his debut, more completions than he had all of last year as a backup.

MAYBE NEXT TIME

Although they were slow out of the gate, there was a third-quarter spark in the Pirates that bodes well of things to come. Crystal River's young players would have benefitted from a preseason game against Northeast that was rained out.

GOOD REED

Of the eight passes attempted by senior quarterback Phil Reed, five were directed at different players. "We work on passing skills in practice every day." coach Dick Slack said. "Right now, the ball is hitting our guys in the hands and they are dropping it. It's a work in progress." Lecanto's 11 offensive starters Friday night were seniors.

PASSING FANCY

Central quarterback Joe Brazeau has a burden no Central quarterback has faced in years: He has to get better at reading defenses and finding open receivers. He looked polished in the first quarter against Citrus, going 3-for-5 for 32 of his 58 passing yards, and scampering 67 yards on a quarterback keeper. Little went right thereafter, as he threw three interceptions, two of which were very costly. With 7 minutes, 58 seconds left in the second quarter and Central up 10-0, he lofted a pass R.J. Cobb intercepted at the Citrus 10. Leading 10-3 early in the second half, Brazeau made a bad read on a flat pass and that was intercepted and returned to the Bear 7 to set up the eventual winning score two plays later.

JUST AN OBSERVATION

1. South Sumter could win the 2A title. Besides Earl Everett, Frank Furca (71 yards rushing) and Tony Fields (63 yards rushing) were part of a potent attack against Crystal River. The defense gave up just one first down on a penalty in the first half against a team that had beaten the Raiders three years running.

2. Barring any serious injuries, Lecanto's offensive line should be one of the best in the area. With all six members off the offensive line returning from last year's squad that helped Jarvis Patterson rush for 1,141 yards and 21 touchdowns, a 2,000-yard campaign is not out of the question for the senior tailback.

3. If Central coach John Wilkinson proved anything Friday night, it's that he's a gambler. He went for it on fourth down three times on the Bears' first drive, which ended in a touchdown. Trailing, 14-10 in the second half, he twice eschewed field-goal attempts (from the 21 and 20) for fourth-down tries that failed. He even onside kicked in the first half.

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