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Friday night rewind

© St. Petersburg Times
published September 15, 2002


"We mean business. We're coming and we're ready." -- Drew Weatherford, Land O'Lakes' quarterback, on the Gators' hot 2-0 start, outscoring the opposition 91-18.


The ranks of the unbeaten after Week 2 include Wesley Chapel, Land O'Lakes, Pasco ... and Ridgewood. The Rams start 2-0 for the first time since 1992. Ridgewood is 2-0 in the Sunshine Athletic Conference standings. The Rams could be setting the stage for the first 3-0 start since that same 1992 season, when the team jumped out to a 4-1 start but lost four straight to finish 5-5. Ridgewood first-year coach Troy Cornwell had plenty to be pleased about:

Defensive back Kale Durocher stung Gulf with his foot and his hands. Durocher had second-half field goals of 35 and 29 yards. He also had two second-half interceptions of Gulf quarterback Jeff Blanchette.

Defensive end Adamm Oliver continues to be a special-teams beast. The Georgia Tech recruit blocked a punt in the second quarter after blasting his way through the line. When the Rams took possession at the Gulf 2, they let Oliver carry the ball for the first of two touchdowns.

Cornwell's lone concern was penalties; Ridgewood committed 13 for 132 yards. Five were of the 15-yard variety.


When you have a highly-touted pocket-passing quarterback recruit, it helps to protect him. But Zephyrhills couldn't protect James Adamo. Land O'Lakes repeatedly crashed the pocket, harassing the 6-foot-3, 218-pound senior into a 5-for-15 effort for 24 yards. Down by 9-0, he completed passes of 1, 3, 4 and 5 yards on quick outs. His only downfield pass went for 12 yards late in the second half. Adamo threw his first interception of the season to linebacker Tom Hoskins and was sacked once by Joey Tuttle.


Pasco dominated Mitchell, holding the Mustangs to 37 yards, but the Pirates had to endure one of the more agonizingly frustrating possessions in recent memory. The Pirates started at midfield after a Donte O'Neal interception but were backed up by a clipping penalty. On third down, quarterback Ben Alford found Devon Hicks open for a 52-yard touchdown, only to have it called back for offensive pass interference. Next play, same play, same result. This time, it's a 67-yard touchdown to Hicks called back on an illegal procedure penalty. When sophomore Tony Fiscarelli was flagged for a late hit on the next play, Pasco coaches protested enough to get their own 15-yard penalty, setting up a third-and-54 from the Pasco 6. As if it couldn't get worse, the Pirates fumbled the handoff and Mitchell's Mike Pijanowski recovered in the end zone for the Mustangs' only points. Pasco had five penalties on the drive, finishing with nine in a little less than three quarters. "It's pretty frustrating as a coach to see that kind of thing, because you don't know if it's real or not until you see the film," Thomas said. "It can drive a coach crazy."


Last year's 39-0 win over River Ridge was Wesley Chapel's first of four shutouts. Friday night's defeat of the Royal Knights marked the Wildcats' second shutout in their first two games. "We played a pretty good football team," River Ridge coach Mike DeGennaro said. "I told my kids when we were preparing for them, "They might be the best team we'll play all year.' " Despite an offensive line that includes five players weighing at least 285 pounds, River Ridge has struggled to move the chains. The Knights totaled 100 yards against Wesley Chapel a week after amassing just 125 against Pasco. River Ridge kick returner Jahmaal Osbourne outperformed his team's offense against Wesley Chapel by returning seven kicks for 120 yards.


Land O'Lakes wideout Logan Payne found himself in a predicament early as Zephyrhills' defensive secondary double-covered the county's leading wideout in the first half. That forced quarterback Drew Weatherford to go to other options. Weatherford threw touchdown passes to three different receivers: Dustin Collins, Keith Elser and Michael Garcia. He hit Chris Perez with a 7-yard pass, and eventually he found Payne, who caught six passes for 76 yards.


Wesley Chapel's Nick Carter, a third-string receiver but a starter at cornerback, had two interceptions against River Ridge. "Nick is one of our wideouts who can't catch a ball," Wildcats coach John Castelamare said. "But he's doing it on defense now."

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