By PETE YOUNG and CAREY FREEMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published August 26, 2000
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Streak is alive and well. The mystique took a big hit, however.
Northeast's 43-game regular-season winning streak is intact, but Gibbs took a sledgehammer to the Vikings' aura of invincibility, whipping Northeast 52-20 in a preseason classic Friday at Sexton Field.
"They didn't want to show everything, and we didn't want to show everything," Gibbs coach Alvin Davis said, "but we were the better team tonight."
In a varsity-only first half, Gibbs won 34-20. The Gladiators junior varsity tacked on six points in the third quarter, and with a mix of varsity and JV in the fourth quarter, Gibbs scored 12 more points.
The first half was an offensive onslaught by both teams from the opening kickoff, which Gibbs' Cedric King took 89 yards for a touchdown. After a Northeast punt following King's touchdown, neither team punted again for the rest of the half.
The Gladiators rang up 258 first-half yards, the Vikings 257.
Gibbs junior quarterback Ron Mathis and his receivers were virtually flawless. Mathis completed 12 of 13 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. He rotated his targets between David Guild (4 catches for 128 yards, 2 touchdowns), King (4 for 49 yards, 1 score) and Bobby Haddick (4 for 46 yards)
"We're a good team this year. We're going to be the No. 1 team in the county," Mathis said. "Northeast is nothing special."
Northeast's offense was nearly as impressive. Quarterback Andrew Harris completed 10 of 19 passes for 183 yards, including a 49-yard score to Martin Teal in which Teal leaped high over a defender to make the catch. The Vikings three scoring drives averaged more than 70 yards. "We were terrible on defense," Northeast coach Jerry Austin said.
"We haven't worked on (preparing to defend Gibbs) for one second. We're just worried about next week against Countryside."
"Our offense was really good," Davis said. "The defense, we know we need to make some adjustments."
Davis is hoping he doesn't have to make an adjustment at linebacker.
Last season's leading tackler, Omonigho Imeokpuria, injured a knee in the first half and his status is uncertain.
CRYSTAL RIVER -- Jean Gordon's plan was simple enough: Bring his Boca Ciega team north for a little offensive work, and most important, get a look at an offensive scheme the Pirates will see at least three more times this season.
However, things didn't exactly go as planned. Gordon's offensive unit was on the sideline for most of Friday's kickoff classic and Gordon got more than an eyeful of Crystal River's wing-T offense in a 30-7 loss.
Crystal River was up to its old tricks. Though under the leadership of first-year coach Jere Defoor, the Pirates didn't miss a beat offensively, rushing for 299 yards on 49 attempts as they controlled the clock and Boca Ciega (18 carries, 85 yards) for the better part of four quarters.
"A lot of people got to handle the ball tonight and a lot of them did pretty good when they got the chance," Defoor said.
"We got a lot of our younger players in and they did real well when they touched the ball."
That they did. Nine players carried the ball at some point in the game -- and all for positive yardage. But, as expected, the biggest effort was delivered by senior running back Nate Madison, who led all rushers with 118 yards and scored his only touchdown on a fourth-down screen pass at the Boca Ciega 22-yard line.
The play may have been Madison's most impressive. He got behind a wave of blockers and hurdled at least one tackler.
For Boca Ciega, the impressive plays were limited to its first drive.
The Pirates marched 49 yards on their first six plays behind explosive runs of 23 and 17 yards from tailback Ralph Williams, but an offside penalty on third-and-7 from the Crystal River 31 and a sack of Wilbur Hunter by end Will Bleakley on the following play doomed any chance of a score.
Crystal River then marched 75 yards on nine plays for its opening score, a 13-yard reverse from wingback Michael Jones, then kept the momentum when George Neill recovered an onside kick. Five more plays and a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Clayton Trenary gave Crystal River a 14-0 lead.
Crystal River held Boca Ciega on four plays then marched 61 yards for its third score, on Madison's reception.
Crystal River punted on the opening drive of the second half, but held Boca Ciega again on four plays and put the game away for good with a 40-yard drive capped by junior Eric Grannan's 10 yard touchdown run.