St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version


Pair of goals in second half wash away frustration

By MIKE READLING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 2, 2003

TAMPA -- With less than eight minutes to go in his team's Class 2A state championship game, Brandon's Jason Poole jogged to the sideline, reached down and picked up 27 years of futility.

As he peered into the cluster of players in front of the St. Augustine Nease goal, Poole cradled the hopes and dreams of a team that had been to the postseason only six times in the last 20 years.

The Eagles senior took two steps forward and arced a throw toward the center of the pack. The ball was heavy, Poole said, because it was waterlogged. It also couldn't have helped that it represented three region quarterfinal losses, a defeat in the sectionals in 1984 and yet another in the region championship game three years ago.

All of that became ancient history, however, when David Zettel outjumped his defender and buried Poole's throw-in in the back of the net.

Seven minutes, 34 seconds later the Eagles celebrated their first state title with a 3-1 victory at Ed Radice Sports Complex.

"We tried not to look at this as the biggest game we've ever played," senior Mike Guess said. "We just wanted to get through it thinking this is just another game."

In all honesty, Saturday was far from just another game for the Eagles, who finished the season 23-1-1 and are looking to improve on their No. 20 national ranking by Brandon's lone loss came during the Student Sports Tournament in December to Santa Margarita (Calif.), ranked No. 1 in the nation.

In typical Brandon style, the Eagles were forced Saturday to claw for everything they earned.

Nease (26-7) took the early lead on a redirected header by Brendan McCurdy in the eighth minute and then withstood Brandon's offensive domination the rest of the half. The Eagles finally tied it when Derek Goforth took a Ryan Macko pass and pushed a left-footer past keeper Kevin Gordon just before the half.

The teams traded momentum for the majority of the second half before Poole's throw to Zettel changed history. Andy Skiffington added an insurance goal with four minutes to go with a lob over Gordon's head from about 18 yards away.

"The ball weighed about five pounds, it was so waterlogged," Poole said. "I didn't even think about it. I just threw it across the box. It was heart that put it in the net. All heart.

"Hopefully everyone looks at Brandon like we're the best now. We are the team to beat."

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk
  • Gary Shelton: Wake up, shape up, or gig's up
  • Hubert Mizell: A lot changed around Tampa Bay in the last 20 months

  • College basketball
  • Gators keep wits about them in W
  • Eckerd completes season sweep of Tampa
  • 'Noles put away struggling Cavs
  • Nittany Lions fall to 'Cats in 2OT
  • Golden Eagles still control Bulls at home
  • Arizona wraps up Pac-10 title
  • Sluggish UConn rallies, clinches
  • Southern Illinois 70, No.17 Creighton 62

  • Outdoors
  • A kayaking coup gone with the wind

  • In brief
  • Ward resigns as CEO of Olympic Committee
  • Rant and Rave

  • Storm
  • Howfield relishes latest chance

  • NHL
  • Slapshots
  • Devils rally to defeat Caps

  • Sailing
  • Swiss finally get their Cup

  • Baseball
  • Blue Jays have rough day

  • Boxing
  • Jones Jr. wins heavyweight crown

  • NBA
  • Spurs' 'future' stymies Kings

  • Tennis
  • Legends mix comedy with skill

  • Motorsports
  • Andretti team takes front row
  • Burton wants to join the fun

  • Golf
  • Woods, Toms go distance to make final

  • Preps
  • Warhawks soar
  • Gators can celebrate
  • Eagles' day best ever
  • Hand grabs second title
  • Pair of goals in second half wash away frustration
  • Goals for glory, but defense wins
  • Land O'Lakes, Brandon are tops
  • Cambridge comes up short
  • Clearwater dominates Seminole
  • Durant falls to late run
  • Six champs, state records point to team's dominance
  • Relay puts Wharton in second

  • Outdoors
  • Hit docks for snook while weather cool
  • Daily fishing report
  • Your turn

  • Rays
  • Sensitive subject
  • Standridge starts strong
  • It gives Gomes scare, but heart not an issue

  • Bucs
  • Bucs DB Jackson has two visits scheduled
  • Teams still seek Bucs defenders

  • Lightning
  • Convincing, confident victory
  • Roy makes news in Ottawa

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts