Friday night rewind
By Times staff writers
"It's very important going into our next big game (Central). It's very important conference-wise, and we've got to keep getting after it." -- CHRIS TAYLOR, Ridgewood defensive coordinator on the Rams' first shutout of the season, 28-0 over Springstead.
ADAMM OLIVER, RIDGEWOOD: Rushed 17 times for 101 yards, including touchdowns of 10 and 2 yards, recovered a fumble and blocked a punt to set up the Rams' first score in a 28-0 victory over Springstead that kept Ridgewood's playoff hopes alive.
SEAN JESTER, RIDGEWOOD: Caught three passes for 113 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown from Pete Bennett, rushed eight times for 47 yards and had a sack in the win over Springstead.
JESSE GRIFFITH, SPRINGSTEAD: The sophomore wide receiver caught two passes for 54 yards, including a 38-yarder early in the fourth quarter that moved the Eagles to the Ridgewood 25-yard line.
TIM GAYNOR, CENTRAL: The 387 all-purpose yards (188 rushing) and touchdown runs of 93, 65 and 3 in the Bears' 26-17 victory over Mitchell say it all.
SHAWN DUNKER, CENTRAL: The senior lost a fumble after a 10-yard run into Mitchell territory late in the first half, but he made some key blocks and gained 49 yards on five carries.
RICKY MOISE, MITCHELL: The Mustangs running back made the Bears look like beginners at times, rushing for 70 yards on 18 carries.
THE BIG BLACK BEAR: Remember that 12-foot tall snarling bear you've seen in front of a rental store off SR-50? The Central student government procured it and now its sits in motionless ferociousness beyond an end zone. It's 1-0.
It was bad enough Springstead had to try to tackle Ridgewood running back Adamm Oliver. It almost seemed unfair to have to block him, too.
Faced with a single blocker on the Eagles' first punt, Oliver had little trouble getting into the backfield to block Mike Hibbert's kick and give the Rams possession at the Springstead 11-yard line six minutes into the game. Two plays later, Oliver ran 10 yards to score the first of his two touchdowns.
"If it's one-on-one with someone, I think I have the advantage because of my size, especially if the guy is 170 pounds," Oliver said. "So I basically just powered through him and there was no one else."
Springstead moved two more blockers to Oliver's side for the remaining punts. He did not block another but continued to put pressure on Hibbert.
"He's a big, strong kid," Springstead coach Bill Vonada said.
After Ridgewood avenged a 27-0 loss to Springstead, Eagles coach Bill Vonada said the Rams bear a strong resemblance to last season's Eagles' squad, which went 6-4.
"They're in the position that we were in last year," Vonada said. "They took some lumps during the year with some younger guys, and now they've got a lot of experience back, they've got a few talented players and they were able to put it together.
"They have 17 seniors on their roster, they start a ton of them and they're good kids who play hard. They've got some good athletes. We knew coming into it with their athletes we were going to have to execute very well to beat them and unfortunately we didn't do that."
Forgive Central's Tim Gaynor for his exuberance. The officials were willing -- once. As Gaynor crossed the goal line to finish a 65-yard touchdown run (his third score) he executed a Mary Lou Retton-quality front somersault before flipping the ball to a referee.
Everyone, including the Central bench, anticipated a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct foul, but none came.
"It was just a spur-of-the-moment thing," Gaynor said. "They said they'd flag me if I did it again."
JUST AN OBSERVATION
1. The celebrating should stop soon if Central beats Ridgewood next week and takes the second playoff spot in Class 4A, District 6. Central would face District 5 champion Palm Bay, which began the week ranked seventh in the state. The way the Bears tackled (or attempted to tackle) against Mitchell, it wouldn't be pretty.
2. Does Pasco County have another quarterback prodigy? Though Mitchell sophomore Spencer Brown has a long way to go make people forget about Land O'Lakes' Drew Weatherford, he has the frame and the raw skills to be very good. Brown went 6-for-10 for 59 yards and two passing touchdowns against Central.
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