Friday night rewind
By Times staff writers
"It was a play. The kids wanted it, and I told them they worked so hard this week I'll give it to you."
-- John Castelamare, Wesley Chapel's coach, on why he twice ran for the end zone in the final 22.5 seconds of Friday's 20-3 win over Ridgewood.
SECONDS TO CONTROVERY
Wesley Chapel could have beaten Ridgewood 13-3 Friday night but didn't.
Instead, coach John Castelamare chose to go for the late touchdown. Tyrone Tomlin, who rushed 23 times for 207 yards, scored on his 22nd carry, a sweep left for 2 yards.
That might have been the end of it, but Kenny "Junior" Roberts intercepted a pass and ran it to the Ridgewood 5-yard line with 1 second left. But instead of taking a knee, the Wildcats ran the same sweep to the right side. Sean Jester broke through to tackle Tomlin for a 9-yard loss on his 23rd carry of the game.
Both coaches congratulated each other afterward but also traded barbs over the last plays.
Ridgewood coach Troy Cornwell congratulated Castelamare and wished him luck but also expressed his disappointment that the Wildcats attempted two scores in the final 22.5 seconds.
"I've said what I've said about that," Cornwell said. "I'm not saying anything more."
Castelamare praised Cornwell's team and wished Ridgewood well. He said he ran in the first touchdown because his players wanted it, and he believed they earned the score. He was also unhappy with the bravado Ridgewood expressed in the newspapers leading up to the game and said his players were angered as well.
As for the second run, Castelamare said when the Rams called a timeout with a second left, he let his players run the same play, never figuring it would go for a touchdown.
"Did they think that way? I'm sorry," Castelamare said. "But our kids took a lot of garbage all week, and I didn't say a darn thing and (Ridgewood) kept it going every day, every day, and that's not the way it's supposed to be."
DOES RON ZOOK HAVE THAT PLAY?
Trailing 19-12 in the fourth quarter Friday, Pasco coach Ricky Thomas pulled out a wild formation for a 58-yard pass to Johnny Peyton, then four plays later, a 25-yard score that tied the game before Land O'Lakes pulled out a 26-19 thriller.
Thomas used what he called a "Polecat" formation, similar to what Wesley Chapel uses on two-point conversion. The quarterback lines up with three linemen, with a tackle and tight end split out wide on each side with one receiver behind them. Former Florida coach Steve Spurrier used the alignment and called it "Emory and Henry," after the small Virginia college that first used the offensive set.
"It's something I got from Steve Spurrier," Thomas said. "I thought it was a good time to bring it out. We were trying to give them something they hadn't seen, and they couldn't adjust to it. It got us back in the game, got us some good momentum."
Pasco stayed in the formation for five plays, with QB Ben Alford taking a 9-yard sack on the second. Facing a fourth-and-18 from his 25, he rolled right and found a leaping Peyton in the end zone for the tying score.
A GAME OF INCHES
In an overtime loss, Hudson got the first crack at getting the ball into the end zone on four plays from the 10-yard line. On third and nine, backup quarterback Shannon Eva scrambled for the left corner but was stopped short of the pylon. Eva's brother, Kenny, was then stopped at the goal-line by River Ridge middle linebacker Aaron Green.
"I just shot the 3-gap and knocked the blocker out of the way," said Green, who tripped up Kenny Eva. "I hit him low and knocked him down."
SO FRESH AND SO CLEAN
Zephyrhills freshman Brian Thomas made the most of his first start at tailback, rushing for 62 yards and a touchdown on seven carries in the Bulldogs' 35-34 victory over Orlando Olympia. Thomas opened the scoring with a 32-yard run around right end on Zephyrhills' first possession of the second quarter. Junior Sidney Williams, the former starter, gained 38 yards on five carries in a reserve role. "(Thomas) is going to be a good one," coach Tom Fisher said. "He's getting there. Sidney didn't do too bad, either, so we've got plenty to work with."
NOW THE BAD NEWS ...
Land O'Lakes could be without the services of its leading rusher for a while. Junior Chris Perez, who scored his ninth touchdown of the season in the first quarter Friday, sprained his right knee in the second quarter. He was helped off the field, returned on the next series, gained 10 yards, then went down in pain again after aggravating the injury. He watched the rest of the game from a wheelchair. His status is uncertain.
-- Greg Auman, Steve Lee, Frank Pastor and Jamal Thalji.
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