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Friday night rewind

By FRANK PASTOR, BRANT JAMES
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 6, 2002

QUOTABLE

"It's a huge game. We're 2-0 in the district, and there are only two teams (including Land O'Lakes) left that are 2-0 in the district. It's a really, really big win."

-- JOHN WILKINSON, Central coach, following his team's 29-16 victory over Springstead.

GAME BALLS

SHAWN DUNKER, CENTRAL: The senior gained 88 of his career-high 164 yards in the first quarter and 101 in the first half to lead the Bears to a 29-16 win at Springstead.

TIM GAYNOR, CENTRAL: The senior had a game-high 191 yards and four touchdowns on 30 carries.

CENTRAL OFFENSIVE LINE: The unit cleared the way for Gaynor, Dunker and Steve Martin to rush for 397 yards on 67 carries.

TIM DOW, SPRINGSTEAD: After seeing little action in the first half, the sophomore finished with a team-high 95 yards on eight carries, including a 38-yard touchdown.

KURT CARRIVEAU, SPRINGSTEAD: What few stops Springstead made were usually by Carriveau. The junior linebacker also blocked an extra-point attempt.

BRAD WYATT, HERNANDO: Look past the fumble and the 57-yard interception return for a touchdown and the senior had a solid night. He led all Leopards rushers with 62 yards and set up the eventual winning score with 9- and 11-yard scrambles.

TRAVIS MILLER, HUDSON: The running back rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown for a team that had 169 yards of offense.

THE HUDSON CURSE

How else does Hernando escape? Two missed field goals, a potential game-tying PAT in a 14-13 loss, and two dropped passes that would likely have been touchdowns.

SHARING THE WEALTH

Central's victory was a team effort, for better or worse. The offensive line and three backs had a hand in the Bears' 397 rushing yards, and the defense limited Springstead to two late scoring drives. Kicker Bobby Batista also got into the act, making a 16-yard field goal and two extra points. Central spread around its mistakes, too. The Bears fumbled five times, losing two, and committed 14 penalties for a whopping 101 yards.

HURTING

Shawn Dunker "dinged up" his wrist after recovering his own fumble in the second quarter, Central coach John Wilkinson said, but returned in the second half. "We just tried to carry away from his wrist as much as we possibly could," Wilkinson said. He was more concerned with running back Steve Martin, who he said "tweaked" a lateral collateral ligament while being tackled near the sideline in the fourth quarter. "I never even heard of an LCL," Wilkinson said.

FORGOTTEN MAN

Springstead running back Tim Dow carried just three times for three yards in the first half after rushing for 102 last week against Lecanto. "With the defense they were giving us, we thought we could exploit some other stuff," coach Bill Vonada said. "We attempted once or twice to run Tim, and that was one of those cases where we didn't make the proper blocking adjustment before halftime." The adjustment worked, as Dow gained 92 yards on five second-half carries, including a 38-yard touchdown.

OUCH

Hernando's bench looked like a Civil War triage tent in a 14-13 win over Hudson. First, Jagren Castillo (12 rushes, 51 yards, touchdown) reaggravated his two-week-old high ankle sprain and played little in the second half. The team's second-leading rusher, Rod Roberts (6 for 20), tweaked his ankle, then severely bruised his shin on defense (he was to undergo X-rays on Friday night). He did not play in the second half and was on crutches after the game. Defensive end Brae White suffered a concussion and did not play in the second half.

LONG MARCH

Hernando coach Bill Browning improved to 90-82 lifetime, believed to be the most wins for a county head coach. "That just shows he's a good coach," quarterback Brad Wyatt said. "And he's still got it. He knows what he's doing." Browning, 47, is 42-38 in seven-plus seasons at Hernando and was 48-44 in nine seasons at Springstead. "I've had some very, very good years," Browning said, "but coaches will tell you in most good years you had more talent than in the others." Browning said he isn't thinking so much about 100 wins as his possible impact on student-athletes. "I want to win and winning is important, but that's really kind of secondary for me." he said. "I hope I'm helping players somehow personally. Otherwise, I could do something else and make a whole lot more money." Land O'Lakes coach John Benedetto is the winningest coach on the North Suncoast at 132-125 in 24-plus seasons. Zephyrhills' Tom Fisher is 83-54 in 13-plus seasons.

JUST AN OBSERVATION

1. Tom Fisher Stadium must be cursed. Hernando's run of injuries never seems to end.

2. Art Starks is an able backup but Hernando is in trouble if Jagren Castillo (509 rushing yards, nine touchdowns) and Rod Roberts (449, 3) are out long. Coach Bill Browning cryptically said Castillo "will be out a while."

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