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Hernando rewind

By GREG AUMAN, BRANT JAMES, JAMAL THALJI
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 20, 2002

QUOTABLE

"I'm so disappointed, but I'm proud of our kids. They just battled and battled and battled along. Mitchell played hard, but we had some bad breaks. We just didn't quite overcome the combination of things and Mitchell's effort" -- BILL VONADA, Springstead coach on Friday's 27-21 double-overtime loss to Mitchell

GAME BALLS

TIM DOW, SPRINGSTEAD: The sophomore rushed 33 times for 130 bruising yards and three touchdowns, scoring on runs of 7, 5 and 4 yards in the Eagles' loss at Mitchell. He rushed 22 times for 86 yards in the first half.

BRAD WYATT, HERNANDO: The quarterback faced steady pressure, completing 6 of 21 passes for 63 yards, and got little help from his receivers. But as a punter, he averaged 45 yards on five attempts, the last a 66-yarder. Take away a 22-yard shank on his first punt, and he averaged more than 50 yards on his other four.

TIM GAYNOR, CENTRAL: The senior earns an accolade with an asterisk, as 78 of his 165 yards and his touchdown came well after the game was decided and against Land O'Lakes' backup defense.

IAN WALD, SPRINGSTEAD: When the green light was given to start running the option in the second half Friday, the bootlegging sophomore responded with 66 yards on nine carries, his first going for 23 yards. But it was his fumble in double-overtime that sealed the Eagles' fate.

MISSED CHANCES

Tied at 14 at halftime, Mitchell and Springstead missed opportunities to take the lead afterward.

Mitchell's Ryan Villiard missed a 42-yard field goal with 8:34 left in the third. Mitchell had a shot at a 46-yarder with 6:50 left in the game but faked it as holder Donnie Josephik overthrew an open Ricky Moise.

With 1:13 left, Mitchell blocked Mike Hibbert's 35-yarder. In overtime, the Eagles reached the Mustangs 2. But Wald fumbled after being hit.

"Obviously, the turnover hurt, but you can't say it cost us the game," Vonada said, "because we had other opportunities to win it before the game was over."

ALL OR NOTHING

Hernando finished with 183 yards of total offense, and 75 came on a 15-play drive at the end of the first half. The Leopards managed to get nine plays into the final 1:14 but went into halftime without any points to show for it.

Wyatt had the Leopards at the Wesley Chapel 13 with 11 seconds left and twice threw into the end zone to Mozell Elder, who had three catches during the drive.

With a second left, Hernando could have gone for a 30-yard field goal, but it has not made one this season. Hernando went for the touchdown instead. Wyatt completed a pass across the middle to Elder, but he was stopped at the 5. SORELY MISSED

Hernando essentially played without its top two rushers, getting only four carries from Jagren Castillo, recovering from an ankle sprain, while Rod Roberts did not play.

"(Castillo) is hurting, but he hasn't practiced in about 21/2 weeks. So he played very, very limited," coach Bill Browning said. "He's really not 100 percent yet."

Antonio Brown led the Leopards with 43 rushing yards, including 27 on one run that set up their lone touchdown, a 12-yard run by Art Starks.

QB OR NOT QB

Alex Ruoff replaced Joe Brazeau at quarterback for the second straight week, this time with five minutes left in the first half and Central trailing 26-0. Brazeau was yanked after his only pass was intercepted by Adam Denicourt at the Central 41.

Ruoff went 1-for-3 for 28 yards.

"We're still assessing things at that position," Central coach John Wilkinson said.

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