St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Terriers get their wish


© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 3, 2001

TAMPA -- Hillsborough wanted to grind it out, chew up the clock, keep Jefferson's offense on the sideline. It was the game plan the Terriers always use, except this time there was a dramatic twist.

They used the wishbone.

They used it despite only having a week to perfect it, a week that followed eight years of using a two-back set.

The final tally was 252 Terrier rushing yards, and a 23-14 victory that gave Hillsborough a wild-card spot in the Class 5A state playoffs.

Hillsborough (8-2) slipped in when Haines City lost 34-19 to Lake Wales, dropping the Hornets to 7-3 and out of the 5A playoff hunt.

Jefferson, meanwhile, is 8-1 and had already sealed a playoff spot with its district championship.

The Dragons, who had given up an average of just 163 yards a game, said they were not surprised by Hillsborough's attack, but they simply couldn't stop it.

"I think the Terriers had the ball for almost the entire first half," Jefferson coach Mike Simmonds said. "They did a great job grinding it out."

Garcia said he got the idea for the wishbone while running early last Sunday morning.

"I came in on Monday and told my offensive line that we were putting our fate on their shoulders," Garcia said. "I said we were going to run it and stick to it for the whole game, in every situation, no matter what happened."

Then, during the game, Garcia took the sentiment to an extreme.

Leading 13-0 with 3 minutes remaining in the first half, Hillsborough faced a fourth-and-1 on its own 10-yard line.

That's when Garcia -- "For the first time in my 28 years of coaching," -- went for it that deep in his own territory.

"My assistants were all saying punt, punt!," Garcia said. "I told them, "No, we're going for it. If we can't make a yard right now, when we need it most, then we don't deserve the playoffs.'

"I just felt we had to keep Jefferson off the field."

The Terriers ran a quarterback sneak and made it. A few minutes later, after its only long pass (a 55-yarder), Hillsborough made a 22-yard field goal and went into the half with a 16-0 lead and a huge advantage in offensive stats (168 yards rushing to Jefferson's nine).

Simmonds thought the key play for his team came just four plays before Hillsborough's fourth-down gamble at the 10.

That's when Jefferson fumbled at Hillsborough's 1-foot line.

"Hey, if we score there, then it's a totally different ballgame," Simmonds said.

It's also a completely different ballgame if a ball doesn't slide off Jefferson's Andre Caldwell's fingertips early in the second quarter. If Caldwell catches the ball, Jefferson has a 97-yard touchdown.

"But then," Simmonds said, "there were several little things like that, that would have changed the complexion of the game."

In the second half, Jefferson stepped up its potent offense (the Dragons were averaging 432 yards a game), but it was too little too late.

"The bottom line is that the Big Red ain't dead yet," Garcia crowed. "We're alive to play another day."

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk

John Romano
  • This is fast becoming a special World Series

  • College football
  • Seminoles look out for No. 1
  • UF refuses to overlook Vanderbilt
  • Winless foe poses threat for the Bulls
  • Owls present 'Canes their last breather
  • Small colleges notebook
  • Every game a thrill for Washington
  • College football notebook
  • Top 25 games

  • World Series
  • A mound of question marks
  • World Series notebook
  • World Series chatter

  • Lightning
  • Lightning loses touch
  • Dudley looking, but no deals done yet

  • Bucs
  • Abdullah proves he's something special
  • Miss is in the past, Gramatica says

  • Motorsports
  • The 'other' Wallaces get their shot

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • Et cetera
  • Sports in brief

  • Preps
  • Tonight's games
  • Pirates steamroll Leopards
  • Warriors rush to win over Largo
  • Win secures 10-0 season for Jesuit
  • Panthers roll Eustis for their first winning season
  • Springstead seniors go out with a bang
  • Wildcats add SAC title
  • Pirates win, lose all in same night
  • Zephyrhills escapes again on late score
  • Pirates steamroll Leopards
  • Green Devils make the postseason
  • Barons overcome poor first half
  • Steadman sets mark as Sharks clinch
  • Plant goes out with victory over Robinson
  • Spongers stuff Eagles
  • Terriers get their wish
  • It's lonely in the front for Steier
  • Eagles squads land in regionals
  • Lemons caps career in sweet finale
  • Hillsborough football notebook
  • Pinellas football notebook
  • Hurricanes fall to fast Forest

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts