Friday night rewindBy BRANT JAMES, KEITH NIEBUHR, KRISTEN LEIGH PORTER
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 13, 2002
"They kept their heads together and it paid off tonight." -- BILL VONADA, Springstead coach, after the Eagles upset previously unbeaten Citrus 25-3.
BOBBY BATISTA, CENTRAL: The senior scored seven of his team's 13 points against Crystal River with field goals of 42 and 30 yards.
CHRIS BUNCH, CRYSTAL RIVER: The junior continues to improve, throwing for 52 yards and a touchdown, and showing his speed with an 88-yard TD run.
MOZELL ELDER, HERNANDO: The junior tied Sam Ewing's six-year-old record with three interceptions in a game, and caught a 67-yard TD pass from Brad Wyatt. His two-point conversion pass gave Hernando a 14-7 lead.
JOSH HALL, CRYSTAL RIVER: Known more for his defense, the senior grabbed a 40-yard TD pass. He also recovered a fumble and had an interception.
MIKE HIBBERT, SPRINGSTEAD: The junior booted field goals of 37, 46, 47, 30, 19 and 27 in the Eagles' upset win over Citrus. He also connected on a PAT.
THE SPRINGSTEAD DEFENSE: The Eagles held Citrus to 156 yards on 34 carries and R.J. Cobb to 19 yards on 11 attempts, his lowest output of the season.
MATT PEPITO, CRYSTAL RIVER: The sophomore kicked five PATs and a 36-yard field goal.
ART STARKS, HERNANDO: The senior rushed for 117 yards and touchdowns of 74 and 4 yards.
BRAD WYATT, HERNANDO: His 67-yard TD pass to Mozell Elder put the Leopards in front for good and his 41 yards rushing kept drives alive.
GETTING HIS KICKS
The Citrus Bowl has been good to kickers. Seven days after Citrus' Keith Zigler booted a 32-yarder as time expired to lift the Hurricanes past Deltona, Hibbert's six field goals shattered his career-best of three, set last year against Crystal River. Additionally, each of his kickoffs reached the end zone, and he nailed his lone PAT.
When did it hit coach Larry Bishop that Citrus might not be up Springstead? Two hours before kickoff. "When the kids showed up, we were kind of disappointed in the way they were approaching the ballgame," Bishop said. "This is what happens when you come in and your heads are swelled."
As good as Mozell Elder's night was, it could have been better. In the third quarter, Elder was called for an illegal block well behind an apparent 45-yard touchdown run by Antonio Brown. With 34 seconds left in the game, instant karma apparently got him back. Elder intercepted a pass and returned it 31 yards for an apparent touchdown, but it was called back for an illegal block in the back.
JUST AN OBSERVATION
1. Now that Crystal River seems to have its Achilles' heels -- the kicking game and fumbles -- under control, there may be no stopping the Pirates.
2. Teams should play a prevent defense against Hernando on its first play. Art Starks took the Leopards' first play 74 yards for a score against Lecanto. Three weeks earlier, Rod Roberts took the first play 73 yards for a score against Central.
3. Lecanto had its chances, but couldn't execute. Down 14-7, coach Dick Slack had the Leopards burned when he called for a halfback option pass by Brian Dawsy. Hernando cornerback Antonio Brown was completely fooled on the play and let Louis Santos run uncovered down the sideline. Dawsy's pass, however, fell well short.
4. Citrus better regain its focus in a hurry. The Hurricanes lacked intensity against Springstead, but there's no time to pout. Citrus closes the season with North Marion, Dunnellon, Crystal River and Ocala Forest, all fighting for playoff spots.
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