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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
TAMPA - For Palm Harbor University, the first challenge came before the game.
Captain and starting centerback Nate Wysk was scratched because of back spasms, forcing coach Mike Mannino to make a quick lineup adjustment.
The Hurricanes responded.
Four players scored as PHU defeated Leto 4-1 Thursday night. Leto (11-5-1), which won its first district title since 1994-95, controlled the first 32 minutes. But the Falcons failed to capitalize on four excellent scoring chances, and PHU took control after that.
A header by Levi Curnutte off a David Cole corner kick gave the Hurricanes (22-4) a 1-0 lead eight minutes before intermission. Josh Roberts doubled Palm Harbor's advantage with a goal in the final minute of the half after Leto failed to clear the ball in front of its net. A goal by Andreas Lago, which gave Palm Harbor a 3-0 lead early in the second half, was scored in the same manner.
As Wysk missed his first game of the year, Curnutte was moved to the middle and Robbie DeMar started.
Leto's goal came on a penalty kick by Sergio Ramos four minutes after Eugene Starikov scored on an indirect kick for Palm Harbor.
"We had our chances in the first 20 to 30 minutes," Leto coach Marcus Asgedom said. "If we could have gotten one of those balls to go in, it would have been a different game."
The night had a festive atmosphere.
Leto's band performed the national anthem in front of 500 fans. Former Leto coach Ray DiPompo (now at Alonso), who guided the Falcons to their last region, also gave the team a pregame pep talk.