'Canes blow past North Marion in spring game


Gainesville Hurricanes wide receiver Case Harrison runs up field against the North Marion Colts at Citizens Field during Friday's spring football game.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, May 25, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 12:30 a.m.

Although it was only a spring game, the Gainesville High School football team came out Friday night as if it was still on a playoff run.

What could be an early road to redemption after losing to Seffner Armwood in the regional finals last December, the Hurricanes fired on all cylinders for a 35-7 win over North Marion at Citizens Field.

Gainesville quarterback Mark Cato, a Sun first-team all area selection, threw four touchdowns: four and 39 yards to Chris Thompson, an 8-yarder to Case Harrison and a 44-yard scoring pass to Justin Crawford.

Running back Ralph Webb, fresh off capturing a Class 3A state championship medal in the long jump earlier this month, amassed 78 yards on the ground for GHS.

“Everything seemed to be going just how we practice, which makes it very easy to evaluate where we are at right now,” GHS second-year coach James Thomson said.

Reggie Wilkerson started and played most of the contest for the Colts at quarterback. The University of Georgia commit as a cornerback led North Marion down the field for its only score of the game with runs of 20 and 28 yards, eventually setting up Ian Neal, who busted a 33-yard run and later punched it in from the 3-yard line.

Until the fourth quarter, the Hurricanes gave the senior-to-be plenty of havoc in the backfield. GHS linebacker Alex Gonzales sacked Wilkerson four times in the first half, helping the Hurricanes limit the Colts to just three yards of total offense at halftime.

“We just aren't playing physical enough right now to beat a team like GHS,” North Marion coach Craig Damon said.

“As coaches, we were able to see a lot of the things that we need to work on, but right now what stands out is we aren't playing physical enough.”

GHS finished last year with a 10-3 record after a heartbreaking loss to Armwood in the regional finals. In that game, the ‘Canes standout corner Chris Bivins, now at USF, left the game with an injury — playing a part in Armwood's 17-14 comeback win. Thomson said Bivins' former position is an area of need as the team prepares for its summer workouts.

“There are still some holes to fill, that is one of them. But with the summer coming up, the guys know what they need to do, with the workouts and the weight room, I am confident in what could transpire, it's up to them,” Thomson said.

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