tampabay.com

Hernando's defense dominates

Hernando linebacker's return to his old stomping grounds transpired exactly as he had hoped.

By DAVID MURPHY
Published May 20, 2007


UMATILLA - It was only a spring game, and Nick Pauliot is technically still a junior, but the Hernando linebacker's return to his old stomping grounds transpired exactly as he had hoped.

Pauliot, who attended Umatilla as a freshman before moving to Brooksville, forced three fumbles, recovered another and recorded an interception as a dominant Leopards defense sparked a 29-14 win over the Bulldogs.

"I'm glad he's on our side, " Hernando defensive coordinator Shawn Bingham said after the game.

Hernando forced five turnovers and allowed just 173 yards of total offense. The majority of those yards came on Umatilla's only sustained drive of the game, a 13-play, 99-yard march down the field that resulted in its first touchdown of the game. Of the Bulldogs' nine total first downs, seven came on that drive.

Offensively, Hernando unveiled a new spread offense that featured a lot of option plays. First-year Hernando coach Rodney Byrd plans on passing more than the Leopards have in the past, but quarterback Jason Davies had just four attempts.

Conversely, Hernando racked up 264 rushing yards on 46 carries. Davies led the way with 88 yards on 15 carries, while junior George Fribley carried eight times for 60 yards and three touchdowns.

Byrd said the team only ran six or seven plays and the offense would definitely feature more passing in the fall.

"I think the kids have worked really hard, " Byrd said. "They love this offense because it's up-tempo."

Junior running back Nick Sizemore added 82 yards on 17 carries, most of them between the tackles.

David Murphy can be reached at dmurphy@sptimes.com or 352 848-1407.

Hernando 29, Umatilla 14