Eagles close line Hawks, 53-0

Springstead High’s Anthony Alexis eludes the Sunlake defense for a TD Friday at Booster Stadium.Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

FOOTBALL

Seven backs carry

the rock as SHS

opens impressively

By TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

SPRING HILL – Prior to ninth lifetime meeting between former district rivals Sunlake and Springstead, SHS skipper Mike Garofano was anxious to see what he had.

After sitting out last week’s pre-season classic, Garofano received his answer.

The Eagles unleashed seven different ball carriers in throttling the visiting Seahawks to open up its 44th season Friday at Booster Stadium, 53-0.

Springstead High defenders Robert Carroll, Logan Blevens, and  Adrian Cabrera and Alex Peralta wrap up a Sunlake runner Friday at Booster Stadium. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Behind its largest-ever offensive line – the Spring Hill crew rolled up 408 yards of total offense and didn’t commit a turnover in its most sided season-opening game.

The margin of victory surpassed 2012’s 48-0 at Booster Stadium at Ridgewood and edged 1996’s 49-0 nod at Central for the largest season-opening victory.

There were many heroes for the hosts.

Logan Crossley

Besides 332-pound left guard Colby McMillan, stood 352-pound left tackle Logan Crossley.

The duo alternated in restricting the smallish Sunlake D-line to one first down on the evening.

SHS senior quarterback Max O’Rourke set the pace with four carries for a career-high 91 yards highlighted by two touchdowns (43, 29 yards).

Colby McMillan

O’Rourke completed his one pass attempt for seven yards to sophomore Adonis Houston “I catch everything” Houston.

Friday’s game served as a coming out party for SHS fullback Anthony Alexis.

Alexis, who broke his leg in the pre-season classic ast year at Hudson, missed all of last year.

In his first action since returning, the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder rushed eight times for a game-high 126 yards.

Alexis sprinted three times into the end zone for scores – twice from 18 yards – and once from 60 yards out.

SHS’ backup fullback, the 5-foot-7, 224-pound senior Toby Rahman, added nine carries for 73 yards and added a score from two yards out.

Junior Jordan Smith aided the cause with five carries for 36 yards and a score.

Junior slot back Jaylen Thompson gained 35 yards on three caries and Zeek Lewis-Baldwin enjoyed four touches for 35 yards..

Sophomore and third-team quarterback Dante Young added two carries for 10 yards, highlighted by a 5-yard TD run late in fourth quarter to close the scoring.

Hernando County’s two-time Defensive Player of the Year – middle linebacker Adrian Cabrera, didn’t play in the second half of a 43-0 halftime custion.

Cabrera chipped in with six first-half tackles.

Player’s take

There was plenty of praise to pass around.

Max O’Rourke

O’Rourke explained afterward, “We definitely came out and played with great intensity and focus,” said the 17-year-old.

“Everything starts up front. We broke their will tonight. We took advantage of the oppotunities we had. Out O-line just imposed its will on those guys. It’s our biggest-ever line.“

On tracing the difference between getting stomped on by Dunnellon in Marion County, “Dunnellon was a great team, but we’ve gotten better. There’s enough talent here to make some noise”

On the keys to the game, “I thought we stayed hyped the entire game,“ explained O’Rourke, who directed the mistake-free offense.

Adrian Cabrera

“I only played the first half,” shared Cabrera, 17. “I felt like I was in one 8-10 tackles. But I took a lot of pride in watching the younger guys gang tackle against Sunlake.

“I thought Sunlake played hard. They maintained their sportsmanship throughout the entire game, which is hard to do in games like this.”

On why the Eagles played at such a high level, “For most of our team, we’re seniors. It’s all about Daytona. That’s been the goal all summer is to get there. This was just a mini-milsteone step to get there.“

Anthony Alexis

Cabrera was gushing after mentioning Anthony Alexis efforts.

Toby Rahman

“Anthony and I have played together since third grade. This is our year,” explained Cabrera. “No one wanted to see him do better than I have. He’s been looking forward to this game for a while.”

“I was beyond excited to see what we actually had,” shared Rahman, 17. “This team has tremendous senior leadership. We all want to go out on top. This was just start of the season, not the end.”

Springstead 53, Sunlake 0

1

2

3

4

TOT

SNL

0

0

0

0

0

SPG

19

27

0

7

53

Individual Scoring:

SPG – O’Rourke 43 run (O’Rourke kick).

SPG – Alexis 18 run (O’Rourke kick fails).

SPG – O’Rourke 29 run (Blevens run fails).

SPG – Rahman 2 run (O’Rourke pass fails).

SPG – J. Smith 20 run (J. Smith run).

SPG – Alexis 18 run (O’Rourke kick fails).

SPG – Alexis 60 run (O’Rourke kick).

SPG – D. Young 5 run (O’Rourke kick).

 

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