Hornets tie record, post school=best fourth win, baffling Bucs, 50-14

Weeki Wachee senior Brock Vance (87) gains yardage in his first 100-yard rushing effort of his career Friday night against Gulf High. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
Weeki Wachee senior Sebastian Class (3) exploits a large hole in the Gulf defense for part of his 166 rushing yards and three touchdowns Friday night at the Hornets’ Nest. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
Weeki Wachee’s Trenton Pisarski (33) and Kenny Lisk (45) close in on Gulf High’s Kavn Clark. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

FOOTBALL

Class, Vance combine for

268 yards, 5 TDs, Strickland

swipes two passes for scores

By TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

WEEKI WACHEE – In the final tilt of Year 7, Weeki Wachee tied the school record set in 2015 for the most single season wins (4).

The US-19 gridders handed punchless Gulf High (1-9 overall) its 38th loss across in last 40 games Friday night at Hornets’ Nest, 50-14.

The heroes were many for WWHS.

On Senior Night, second-year mentor Jacob Gray’s action plan was to reward his Class of 2019 members.

He did.

After late afternoon showers rendered the passing game futile, WWHS rolled up its sleeves.

Senior tailback/receiver Sebastian Class rushed nine tines for a game-high 166 yards and scored three touchdowns (60, 70, 20 yards).

Senior fullback and tight end Vance Brock toted the ball eight times for a career-best 102 yards.

He scored on a run from five yards out and snared 10-yard TD pass from junior signal caller Vaughn Sykora.

On a night when the hosts out-gained the visitors 361-74, WWHS out-rushed Gulf, 331-16.

Senior Brian Strickland carried once for a 28-yard TD run. On defense, Strickland jumped two routes and returned two interceptions for touchdowns.

Sykora, who rushed three times for a season-high seven yards, connected on 2-of-5 passes for 30 yards.

Despite his lowest passing total of the season, Sykora added county-leading 21st TD pass of the season and 31st overall.

Sykora needs 18 more in 2019 to bypass ex-Hornet Alex Cromie’s (2014-16) county record of 48 career touchdown passes.

Though WWHS tallied eight touchdowns, the hosts tallied only one two-pointer conversion by senior lineman Jacob Schmidt.

The Hornets, who arrived a minus-11 in turnover ratio, departed forcing a game-high four turnovers.

Besides Vance recovering onside kick, senior Amar Walker intercepted a pass while Strickland pilfered a pair.

Recapping the scoring

On the Hornets’ opening possession, the hosts aimed Vance up the middle on five straight runs.

Vance, who arrived with a season-high 125 yards, set up the initial score with bursts of 17, 11 and 10 yards.

On the fifth snap, he scored from five yards out for his second touchdown of the season.

Jacob Schmidt followed with every lineman’s dream – finding the end zone – on the ensuing two-pointer with 10:33 showing, 8-0.

After a three-and-out, WWHS began its second possession on its own 40.

The Hornets, who live on explosive plays (going 15 yards or loner), dialed long distance.

Class’s first carry went 60 yards to pay dirt, 14-0 with 8:25 showing in the first quarter.

Three snaps later, Gulf again did its best chorus line routine – you know, 1-2-3 kick.

But on this next series, Class lost six on a tackle by Ezekiel Parisi. On the next play, Sykora was sacked by Parisi for a 10-yard loss.

Strickland ended the possession with his only punt of the night: 32 yards.

Four snaps later, Strickland swiped his county-leading fourth pass of the season, racing 60 yards to the end zone for the second time this season.

That score upped the ante to 20-0 with 3:09 left in the first period.

Two plays later, Walker hauled down his first interception of the season.

On fourth down and four, Sykora’s pass fluttered incomplete to turn the ball over on downs.

Four snaps hence on the second play of the second quarter, Gulf punted for the third time.

From its own 30, Coach Gray simply had Class carry the rock. He responded by ripping off a 70-yard touchdown.

That TD run bested his previous best of 69 yards against Lecanto.

WWHS led 26-0 with 10:54 left in the first half.

After WWHS freshman placekicker Armando Gobitas bounced his patented onside kick, the ever-present Vance recovered.

The hosts traversed 50 yards on four plays, Strickland added his first rushing touchdown of the season from 28 yards with 8:10 left, 32-0.

Gulf got off the deck countering with an 8-snap, 51-yard scoring drive.

The starting quarterback zipped 35 yards to avoid the shutout. The ensuing two-point run failed, 32-6, with just over three minutes remaining before the intermission.

Next, WWHS went back to work. Vance carried for 19 yards before Sykora connected with Class for 20 yards.

On first and goal at the Buccaneer 10, Sykora found a wide-open Vance for his 21st TD aerial, with 2:26, 38-6.

Behind three straight penalties against WWHS, Gulf drove the Hornets’ 9-yardline before stalling out without any points.

Different verse, identical lyrics.

On the fourth offensive snap of the third quarter, Strickland stole a pass at midfield and raced home untouched.

Behind his county-leading fifth pick, he added a school record third defensive touchdown this season.

His second pick six of the game prompted a running clock for the remainder of the game, 44-6.

After the Bucs’ fourth punt, WWHS engineered a 6-play, 75-yard scoring drive.

Vance set up the Hornets’ final score with runs of 15 and 29 yards.

From the Bucs’ 20, Class roared home with his third touchdown of the night and his 17th touchdown of the season, 50-6.

The West Pasco County crew didn’t quit. In two snaps, the Bucs covered 40 yards to score again.

This time on offensive lineman-turned-fullback Michael Krietemeyer bulldozing the final four yards.

A successful two-pointer closed the books, 50-14 Hornets.

Post-game analysis

Strickland, who didn’t attempt a two-pointer after setting two Hernando County records for attempts (19) and conversions (15) this season, savored the win.

Brian Strickland

He revisited his two thefts, “I just jumped the routes. Once I made both interceptions, all I saw was green,” beamed the 18-year-old. “I ran my hardest once I made the catches.”

On what Strickland took away from his final prep game, “It was a great way to go out,” smiled Strickland. “I know I’m gonna miss it a lot. I’m gonna miss the grind and playing Friday night lights.”

Brock Vance

With a smile as wide as the Grand Canyon, the 17-year-old Vance basked in the glow of his final game.

“It felt good to run the ball,” he said. “The best part was playing with all my (football) family.

“… I’m gonna miss that family the most. I can’t say I have any regrets. I’m moving on to wrestling and then tennis.”

Sebastian Class

Class, 18, admitted he’s gonna miss playing alongside Vance.

“We’ve played together for 10 years,” indicated the 2017 All-County selection. “It was great leaving the program on such a good note. We put a lot on our younger players. Watch out next year for David (Richards). They’re gonna have a great team next year.”

On Gulf, “They came out and competed. That’s all you can ask for,” responded Class.

On the game’s message, “Coach said BGB – Ballers Gotta Ball,” grinned Class. “I’m gonna miss Coach Gray the most. He asked me to help turn this thing around and I think we have. This team has always had my back.”

Jacob Gray

On improving to 2-0 versus Gulf, “After a rainy afternoon, we knew we weren’t gonna throw much,” defended the Hornet skipper. “What we try to do is take advantage of whatever is presented.

“The (wet) conditions messed up our passing game timing, but we took advantage of some formational stuff.”

On what Gray was most proud of, “This was our best defense ever, points allowed-wise,” he said. “We got some seniors who really bought in. We don’t have a big staff, but I certainly didn’t do this by myself, my assistant coaches deserve a lot of credit. They were major part of the plan moving forward.”

On confronting Gulf, “They’ve got some kids that play hard,” noted Gray. “They did some good things tonight. It takes some guts to run that pole cat formation well, but they did it.”

Weeki Wachee 50, Gulf 14

 

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

TOT

GF

0

6

0

8

14

WW

20

18

6

6

50

Individual Scoring:

WW – Vance 5 run (Jacob Schmidt run).

WW – Class 60 run (Jason Schmidt run fails)

WW – Strickland 60 interception return (Lahman run fails).

WW – Class 70 run (Facey pass fails)

WW – Strickland 28 run (Menendez run fails).

GF – No. 3 35 run (Taylor run fails).

WW – Vance 10 pass from Sykora (Larsen run fails).

WW – Strickland 50 interception return (Jacob Schmidt run fails).

WW – Class 20 run (Jason Schmidt pass fails)

GF – Krietemeyer 4 run (No. 68 run).

 

GF

 

WW

First Downs

2

10

Rushing Attempts/Yards

20-16

23-331

Completions/Pass Atts./Int.

4-14-3

2-5-0

Passing Yards

58

30

Total Offense

34-74

28-361

Fumbles/Lost

2-1

0-0

Return Yards

7-16

2-0

Punts/Average

4-29.3

1-32.0

Penalties

3-15

5-35

 

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