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Spongers plan to air it out

Thanks to quarterback Matt Selby's record season, Tarpon Springs has found success in the passing game.

By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer
Published November 11, 2005

TARPON SPRINGS - Tonight, Matt Selby will run onto Sponger Stadium's field and play the most important game of his life.

Tarpon Springs (8-2) hosts Rockledge (7-3) in the Class 4A region quarterfinals. It is the first time the Spongers have made the playoffs since 2001.

How far they go will depend on Selby, a senior who leads the county in touchdown passes (17) and is second in yards (1,442).

"It's a big game and I want to do my part," Selby said. "I feel like we're really starting to come together in this offense."

This season, new coach Bruce Buck shied away from the conservative running attack that was a staple of the program for many years. Instead, he opted to spread people out to move the chains in a variety of ways.

If ever there was a player born for this system, it is Selby.

He knew he needed to keep his arm healthy because he was going to throw, maybe more than any other quarterback at the school has thrown in one year.

Throwing?

No problem.

Whip it or dink it or gun it deep or throw the touch pass - Selby can do it all. Always has.

He set a Tarpon Springs youth league record for touchdown passes in one season (22) and is known for delivering accurate passes.

But he didn't get to showcase his skills until this year because he was too busy handing the ball off to running backs.

That changed once Buck gave him the green light to let it fly. Initially, the results weren't pretty. The Spongers were still learning the nuances of a new system that features multiple formations.

Now, Selby is dangerously efficient.

He set the school record for passing yards and is close to another record in touchdown passes.

"The offensive line has done a great job and everyone is making plays," Selby said. "That makes my job easier. All I have to do is stand back there and throw."

[Last modified November 11, 2005, 01:19:18]


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