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Citrus earns win over Ridgewood

By JAMAL THALJI

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2000


NEW PORT RICHEY -- If Citrus coach Larry Bishop had to give his squad a letter grade after Thursday night's 10-7 preseason Kickoff Classic win over host Ridgewood, this is what it would be:

"I'd have to give them a B-minus," he said.

The weather, though, was about a D-minus.

The Hurricanes and Rams had slugged it for three quarters as dark clouds assembled over west Pasco County. Lightning soon filled the skies, and a light, drizzling rain started to fall.

The officials decided a 15-minute break was in order. Both teams headed for the locker rooms as fans scurried from Ram Booster Stadium for the parking lot. But the lightning intensified, and soon, the game was called with 5:07 left to play.

"It's about what we expected," Bishop said. "Being our first scrimmage and our kids being as young as they were, I thought our overall aggressiveness was real good.

"We switched in a lot of kids. (Ridgewood) is a big team, and they were aggressive, too. I liked how we moved the ball, and we did score some points."

Ridgewood coach Wayne Parzik said those few minutes left on the clock were invaluable to his team.

"The last five minutes, we wanted to get our substitutes in," he said. "We played our first string through the first three quarters. We made a lot of mistakes.

"That's a pretty decent football team."

Citrus' Matt Davis kicked a 35-yard field goal with 6:37 left in the second quarter to go up 3-0.

Sam McLain then hit Dwayne Lauderbaugh with a 32-yard pass, setting up Joe Calcagino's 1-yard touchdown plunge with 2:35 left.

Up 10-0, Citrus turned the ball over in the third quarter at its own 18, and Ridgewood's Dan Myers pounced on it.

The Rams drove 18 yards in six plays, shook off an illegal procedure penalty, and Larry Higgins hit Mike Cassagnol with an 8-yard touchdown pass. The extra point cut the lead to 10-7.

The Hurricanes drove right back, but Davis hooked a 33-yard field goal attempt wide left.

Then the game was called.

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