The Springstead Eagles football team (5-0) blanked the Weeki Wachee Hornets (1-3) by a 28-0 margin at home on Friday night. The Red, White, and Blue came into this game with a great deal of momentum and confidence following four straight dominant wins to open the season, and it showed. The Green and Black had gutted out an 8-6 win last week over the Tenoroc Titans (0-4), but that was also their first win of the season. The Hornets were surely looking to get revenge for the 37-0 drubbing the Eagles had administered to them last season as well. That would not be so for Weeki Wachee on this Friday. The closest the away team would come to scoring a touchdown was on an interception returned to Springstead’s red zone just before halftime. With that being said, was the matchup truly that one-sided?
Out of the gate, Springstead was firing on almost all cylinders. The Eagles marched down the field and put themselves in scoring position less than two minutes into the contest. Much to the home team’s chagrin, Senior Quarterback Ayden Ferguson’s completed pass to Senior Wide Receiver Caidell Gilbert was fumbled out of bounds through the end zone resulting in a Hornets’ touchback. The miscue did not hurt the Eagles much, though, as their defense held Weeki Wachee to a three-and-out on the next drive with a false start to boot. Springstead’s next drive started in excellent field position at their own 45 yard line and the offense picked up where they left off. In two quick plays of 8 and 40 yards to Senior Luca Garguilo and Sophomore Tyree Davis respectively, the Eagles were knocking on the door again. The home team would find paydirt two plays later after back-to-back runs up the middle by Ferguson midway through the first quarter.
A turnover on downs saw the Eagles start their next drive at their 38 yard line, but a three-and-out gave way to a well-placed punt out of bounds at the Hornets’ 15. Fortuitously for the home team, Weeki Wachee proceeded to move backwards, and the ensuing punt was ill-fated. Springstead Head Coach Michael Garofano’s team would take over with immaculate field position at Weeki Wachee’s 21 as the punt only traveled 9 yards. Springstead struck while the iron was hot, and they punched it in two plays later on a 17-yard pass to Gilbert. Hornets Sophomore Quarterback Gio Martinez and company would manage to string a couple of first downs together, but their drive would stall before they reached midfield. The red-clad home team would then have another quick five-play drive ending with a 26-yard pass to Garguilo to give the Eagles an imposing 21-0 lead with three minutes remaining in the half.
Another three-and-out by the visitors was punctuated by a pair of savvy timeouts by Coach Garofano to give his team a chance at a quick score before half. This decision would almost come back to bite the Eagles, though, when Ferguson threw an interception as he was being hit from behind. Sophomore Running Back Connor Mccazzio made the touchdown saving tackle on the return, but not before Junior Adrian Cabezudo ran the interception back inside the home team’s red zone.
Then the Eagles’ stingy defense rose up yet again. As they have done all but three times this season, Senior Outside Linebacker Madden Buratczuk and company kept the opposing offense out of the end zone. This was despite only having 14 yards of cushion between themselves and their own goal line. The defense sacked Martinez on first down, forced an incompletion on second, and allowed only short gains on the final two downs to turn the Hornets away on their best chance of the night.
Coming out of halftime, Springstead’s defense remained locked in as Sophomore Dalton Willams picked off Martinez less than a minute into the third period. The rest of the half would play out largely as a defensive battle on both sides as Weeki Wachee forced their own turnover on downs directly after the interception by Williams. However, Coach Garofano’s squad would find the end zone one more time by way of a five-yard touchdown run by PJ Class with 3:17 left in the third to bring the contest to its final 28-0 mark.
The Hornets will hope to rebound against the Nature Coast Tech Sharks (2-2) on Friday at 7:30. The Eagles will look to continue their undefeated ways as they travel to play a district game against the Wiregrass Ranch Bulls (1-3). The team from Wesley Chapel is coming off a 50-6 shellacking at the hands of the Mitchell Mustangs (3-2) last week. The Red, White, and Blue will kick off against Wiregrass at 7:30 on Friday night.