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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.
By DAVE MURPHY and IZZY GOULD, Times Staff Writers
Published September 9, 2007
There's was a little bit of record-setting Friday night on the North Suncoast. Gulf's David Williams rushed for a school-record 305 yards in a 42-26 win over River Ridge. Add to that 271 more yards, and you'll get the Bucs' total rushing yards for the game. Join us as we delve into some other interesting things that took place Friday night.
Okay, kids. Here are your lessons from Friday night:
1. Don't eat boiled peanuts while navigating Zephyrhills' parking lot.
2. Don't count on Bulldogs coach Tom Fisher to speak in complete sentences after a last-minute win.
3. Numbers aren't everything.
Glancing at the box score, we still aren't sure that Zephyrhills beat Mitchell 35-33. The Bulldogs were outgained nearly 2-to-1 in total yards, more than 3-to-1 in passing yards and fumbled twice as many times as their opponents.
They allowed Mustangs quarterback Tate Humphrey to almost single-handedly put 33 points on the board, passing for 226 yards and rushing for 140.
They punted poorly, picked up some bad penalties and started a sophomore at quarterback.
But as thick night faded into thick morning, it was the Bulldogs who emerged from the haze with a belated season-opening win Zephyrhills had a bye in Week 1, and it was the Mustangs who were left to wonder how they could rack up 435 yards of total offense and still lose.
"I still believe we're a better football team," Mitchell coach Scott Schmitz said as he stood near midfield and watched his players trudge slowly toward the bus.
Here's what he means:
Though the list of teams that can stop the Mustangs may be short, they themselves are at the top of the list. Schmitz, one of Pasco County's most veteran coaches, knows this all too well. And after Friday, it's a good bet his players do, too.
Two turnovers inside the 20-yard line. A costly holding penalty late in the game. A blocked extra point and a botched two-point conversion.
Small slivers of time can overshadow an entire night of production. That's how it works in this sport.
Mitchell was the prettier team. It had more talent. It had a superstar quarterback who did everything except play trombone at halftime. It had that West Virginia offense clicking, with Humphrey as Pat White and future star Sterling Ross as Steve Slaton.
But in the end, it was Zephyrhills, Old Faithful, toss sweep left and toss sweep right, that, with the help of two fateful bounces, walked away with the win.
It's a lesson not only for Mitchell, but also for every other team out there. For Nature Coast, which might not escape a five-fumble performance next time. Or Wesley Chapel, which allowed a 75-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter in a loss to Land O'Lakes.
"The only numbers I care about are 35-32," Schmitz said.
And in the end, they're the only ones that matter.
We didn't even know it was possible to hold a high school opponent to under 50 yards of total offense for an entire game.
2. Nature Coast (down)
A year ago, the Sharks had never beaten a county opponent. Times have changed: Despite a shutout of archrival Springstead, five fumbles knocks them down a notch.
3. Zephyrhills (up)
Looking back at the box score, we still don't know how Zephyrhills won. But coach Tom Fisher always seems to find a way.
4. Mitchell (down)
It doesn't matter if Tate Humphrey throws for 400 yards and rushes for 300 (okay, he only passed for 226 and rushed for 140), the Mustangs must find a way to shore up their run defense.
5. Central (down)
The Bears' loss to Leesburg snaps a nine-game regular-season win-streak. They need to find a way to create some running room.
6. Pasco (down)
Things we know about Sebring: It takes forever to drive there, it hosts an auto race, and it beat Pasco by two touchdowns.
7. Land O'Lakes (up)
Okay, so watching his freshman QB air it out in a 65-point shootout probably wasn't No.1 on coach John Benedetto's to-do list for Friday night. But hey, it's fun to watch.
8. Wesley Chapel (even)
Despite the loss, the Wildcats showed us something against Land O'Lakes by racking up 400 yards of total offense.
9. Hudson (up)
All we heard about heading into the season was Zack Wynn. But RB Sean Scott has these Cobras climbing up the charts.
10. Gulf (up)
The Bucs needed an emphatic win after last week's disappointment loss to Mitchell. Rushing for 576 yards? Yeah, that's emphatic.
11. Hernando (down)
It's not a good thing when your special teams gains more yards and scores more points than your offense. The Leopards' defense is talented, but it needs a chance to rest every now and then.
12. River Ridge (down)
Royal Knights put up a fight for a half.
13. Wiregrass (down)
Less than 50 yards of offense against Ridgewood is proof that building this program will take time.
14. Sunlake (even)
Seahawks used its bye week to rest and get healthy. Wait, it was the second week of the season.
15. Hernando Christian (even)
We'll know the true identity of this Lions' team later in the season.
16. Bishop McLaughlin (down)
Hurricanes have some work to do.
17. Academy at the Lakes (even)
In the immortal words of Justin Timberlake: Bye, bye, bye.
Each Friday, staff writers David Murphy and Izzy Gould and a guest "celebrity" predict the outcomes of each game on the North Suncoast. Each Sunday, they'll look back at just how poorly they did.
After Friday night's games, we challenged celebrity picker John Capel to a foot race. He's not returning our calls. Capel - a former Hernando and UF star, and runner at the 2000 Olympics - smoked Murphy and Gould, going 5-3. He had Nature Coast, Land O'Lakes, Leesburg, Zephyrhills and Santa Fe Catholic all right.
Murphy will forever be chastised for taking Hernando in a 7-2 victory over Hudson. The Cobras went off and handed Sean Scott the rock four times for touchdowns, showing Murphy who's boss.
Gould didn't go 8-0 again this week, but, hey, nobody's perfect. Well, nobody except Jessica Alba. Anyway, Gould whiffed on Wesley Chapel, River Ridge, Mitchell and Pasco.
And yeah, Capel beat us both. But did he really pick River Ridge to shut out Gulf?
This week: 4-4
Best pick: Santa Fe Catholic over Bishop McLaughlin 42-3.
Worst pick: Picking Hudson to score just two points against Hernando. The Cobras put 39 on the Leopards.
This week: 4-4
Best pick: Traveling through Leesburg twice made him realize there was no way Central was going to win, so picking Leesburg to win 23-16.
Worst pick: Who knew Gulf's David Williams would go off for more than 300 yards rushing?
Occupation: Owner of John Capel's Total Body Fitness in Brooksville.
This week: 5-3
Celebrity pickers' season: 11-5
Best pick: Land O'Lakes over Wesley Chapel 26-20, believing in the power of John Benedetto.
Worst pick: Pasco winning 45-13. Couldn't have been more wrong!
Turns out Nature Coast junior D.J. Williams suffered a severe ankle sprain, nothing more.
Sharks coach Jamie Joyner first feared Williams' injury was a fracture after Williams was helped off the field five plays into the third quarter. Williams was unable to place his foot on the ground.
Joyner said early Saturday morning that Williams would probably be out two weeks, thought there is a possibility he could miss three.