All things football

Published October 7, 2005

DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: Though the Keswick offense gets most of the attention, defense has carried the Crusaders to five victories, including three shutouts, and is allowing just four points per game.

It will have to come up with a huge effort tonight to stop dangerous Lakeland Evangel playmakers Dominique Booker and Art Evans.

"We're small, but they get to the ball in a hurry," Keswick coach Rick Sanson said. "They get all 11 hats on the ball. Coupled with that is their discipline. Being small, you have to be disciplined. We have to do the little things right or there will be huge holes in the defense."

One of those holes has been filled by Blake Engelhardt, better known as the team quarterback. Coming into the season, Sanson scrapped his pass-happy attack to take some of the stress off Engelhardt, allowing him to play full time at defensive end.

Sanson said he needed Engelhardt, at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds the Crusaders' biggest player, on the line. But he couldn't very well do that and expect the senior to take every snap in the shotgun and whip the ball around the field as he has the past two seasons. But handing the ball off, that was another story.

"We knew that to get better, we had to run the ball," Sanson said. "The stats are nice, but we were 5-4 last year, and then when we played Fort Meade, we showed we couldn't do anything but throw and they ate us up."

Sanson also knew he had a talented back in Jared Dimaggio. Outmatched last year as a freshman, Sanson started him every game nonetheless. This year, the shifty sophomore has been exceptional and is coming off a 209-yard, two-touchdown performance.

His continued good play will keep Engelhardt fresher, meaning a better defense and one Sanson thinks can stop the explosive Chargers tonight.

BAR NONE: Former Lakewood standout William Floyd will have his No. 27 retired tonight before the game against St. Petersburg. Floyd will be at the ceremony, which is scheduled to start between 7 and 7:15 p.m.

A 1990 graduate, Floyd went on to star at fullback for Florida State and played seven seasons in the NFL with San Francisco and Carolina. In 1994, his rookie season, Floyd scored six touchdowns, including three in a playoff game as he helped the 49ers to a Super Bowl victory over San Diego.

TRICKS OF THE TRADE: The offensive playbooks used by county coaches look like Cliff's Notes compared to the encyclopedia Countryside's John Davis lugs around. It has so many reverses, fakes, tosses, rooskies and exotic sets, he is considered the most creative offensive mind in the area.

But Davis might have met his match, at least when it comes to trick plays.

Tarpon Springs' Bruce Buck has pulled out all the stops in guiding his team to a fast start. He has tried onside kicks, fake punts and two-point conversions, sometimes all in the same game.

On the first play of last week's district game against Springstead, the Spongers lined up in the old "swinging gate" formation, snapping the ball to the running back, who lateraled to quarterback Matt Selby, who found tight end Theo Kappas down the left sideline for a 32-yard reception.

Expect more razzle-dazzle tonight when Tarpon Springs (5-1) hosts the Cougars (6-0), a matchup of two of the hottest teams in the county.