Eagles (4-0) post first-ever whitewash over Pirates (2-3), 21-0

Springstead senior fullback Anthony Alexis rushed 20 times for a game-high 125 yards and added his team-leading seventh touchdown during a 21-0 second quarter blitz at Booster Stadium in Spring Hill. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
Eagle junior slotback Jaylen Thompson (15) opened the scoring on his first touchdown of the season from four yards out to begin the second quarter. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

FOOTBALL

Sprinsgtead recovers pair

of squibbed kicks in 21-0

second-quarter spurt

By TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

SPRING HILL – Prior to the game, seventh-year Springstead skipper Mike Garofano preached about his team securing and maintaining momentum.

Afterward, he sounded like a prophet.

Springstead special teams recovered a pair of Max O’Rourke squibbed kicks – one by recent transfer Isaiah Daniel and other by O’Rourke fueling a 21-0 second period spurt to eventually blank Crystal River, 21-0.

The shutout was Springstead’s third of the season improving the Eagles to 4-0 but served as the hosts first series whitewash over in Crystal River (2-3 overall) in the 13th career meeting dating back to 1981.

In the first meeting between the two schools in 11 years, Garofano claimed his initial win over the Pirates.

With one more whitewash, the Spring Hill crew will duplicate the school record of four shutouts set by the 1996 – or 23 years ago – by the district championship team guided by passed away mentor Pat McCoy.

Thompson gets its started

Jaylen Thompson

On the second snap of the second quarter, junior slotback Jaylen Thompson opened the scoring on a 4-yard touchdown run.

Thompson’s first touchdown of the season was Springstead’s 16th rushing touchdown. It capped a 49-yard drive.

O’Rourke’s ensuing squib kick was muffed and Daniel, a recent transfer from Hernando High, recovered the loose pigskin.

The hosts aimed six straight runs at the teeth of the Pirates’ defense alternating carries by Alexis and O’Rourke.

Alexis tallied his team-leading seventh touchdown of the season from 18 yards out.

Anthony Alexis

O’Rourke’s second point after with 7:41 showing doubled the lead, 14-0.

In seconds, O’Rourke kicked off again and again the Pirates fumbled the ball.

The ball ended up in O’Rourke’s lap at the Pirate 48.

David Battle

After Alexis gained two yards, O’Rourke threaded a perfectly thrown 46-yard post-route to 6-foot-5 senior wide receiver David Battle.

Battle hauled in his second touchdown pass of the season as O’Rourke’s point-after closed the scoring with 6:10 remaining in the first half.

Pirate starting quarterback Ethan McDaniel (who finished 1-of-6 passing for zero net yards) under threw two passes from the Springstead 10 yard line to complete the shutout with 5:10 left in the game.

The Pirates, which managed two first downs in each half, were paced by senior Hudson Silverstone’s three carries for 52 yards. He set up the Pirates’ longest drive with a 51-yard dash.

All this as the Eagles played without two defensive starters in sophomore cornerback Robert Burgos (broken ankle) and senior middle linebacker Adrian Cabrera (shoulder).

Post-game comments

Daniel believed forcing the back-to-back turnovers in the game made the difference.

“The difference tonight came from special teams and our defense,” stressed the 16-year-old Daniel. “Those were two huge plays helped us keep the football and drive the ball.

“…Crystal River put up a good fight. They’re well-coached.”

For his part, O’Rourle lauded the entire offensive line.

Max O’Rourke

“Those guys have done the job all season. Tonight was no different,” explained, the 17-year-old O’Rourke, who turned the ball over once on an interception.

“I didn’t feel like I had a great game,” explained O’Rourke. “But we had some guys really step up and take charge. Crystal River is a good team. I have a lot of respect for them. They never trashed talked.”

Kyle Curl

SHS’ starting nose guard Kyle Curl on Sprigstead’s third shutout of the season, “We had some other people step up and play tremendous tonight. It was a group mentally.

“I thought the key of the game were the two kickoff returns we recovered. Those were huge for momentum for us,” added the 16-year old Curl.

Scott Lydting

“I thought Crystal River put up a good fight,” added,” 16-year=old offensive tackle Scott Lydting. “The key was we had some people really step up like Nemo (Pierre). Those are big shoes filling in for guys like Adrian.”

On what Lydting took away from the effort, “A win is not always a win. This was not an easy game by any means.”

Springstead 21, Crystal River 0

1

2

3

4

TOT

CR

0

0

0

0

0

SPG

0

21

0

0

21

Individual Scoring:

SPG – Thompson 4 run (O’Rourke kick).

SPG – Alexis 18 run (O’Rourke kick).

SPG – Battle 46 pass from O’Rourke (O’Rourke kick).

CR

SPG

First Downs

4

13

Rushing Attempts/Yards

20-91

51/256

Completions/Pass Atts./Int.

1-6-0

1-15-1

Passing Yards

0

46

Total Offense

26-91

56-302

Fumbles/Lost

3-2

0-0

Return Yards

5-33

0

Punts/Average

6.37.0

2-38.5

Penalties

7-35

6-44

 

 

 

 

 

 

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