Presley shines in return to Alachua
Published: Friday, August 23, 2013 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 12:25 a.m.
ALACHUA — As he took the field for the third quarter Friday night, Tray Presley received his final welcome back to Santa Fe.
After transferring from Newberry to his hometown school this summer, Presley felt the arm of Raiders coach Bill Wiles wrap around his shoulder before he finished his 115-yard, two-touchdown performance in a 26-0 preseason win against P.K. Yonge.
“Coach finally told me today, 'I'm glad you're here with us. I'm glad you're here,'” Presley said. “I'm thankful for that.”
Presley finished as the Panthers' second-leading rusher with 666 yards in his lone season with the team. Back in a Sante Fe uniform for the first time in nearly two years, the senior running back provided an instant spark against the Blue Wave — a team that matched the Raiders' 1-9 record a year ago.
An all-area track athlete in the 100-meter dash, Presley flashed his speed on his 10 carries with runs of 37, 35 and 27 yards. Adding to Santa Fe's 200 total rushing yards in three quarters of varsity play were fellow seniors Marcus Archer and A.J. Mack.
Archer, who completed 6 of 9 passes for 86 yards at quarterback, also rushed for 30 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Mack rushed for 50 yards and a score on eight carries.
“The chemistry is great,” Presley said. “It never feels like we missed a beat since we played together on J.V. Everybody is up-tempo. Everybody knows what we've got to do to get the job done.”
Heading into his second year at Santa Fe, however, Wiles wasn't always happy with his team's execution. On a soggy field, the Class 5A Raiders fumbled four times, losing none, while the Class 3A Blue Wave lost five of their eight fumbles.
Santa Fe posted its first turnover in the third quarter when P.K. Yonge senior Tamarick Vanover intercepted Archer.
“Our mental preparation has got to be better,” Wiles said. “We were sloppy early. I thought we played good in spots, but we didn't play good enough. Defensively, we played well, and offensively, we had our moments.”
Under first-year coach Kent Johnson, the Blue Wave struggled to find footing offensively after senior running back Anthony Andrews returned the opening kickoff 65 yards. As was the case in four other possessions, P.K. Yonge's drive ended after three plays with a fumble.
The Blue Wave finished with 9 total yards rushing and 3 passing yards, as starting quarterback Josh Gebhardt was sacked once by Raiders senior Tim Deen and twice by fellow defensive end Walter Jenkins.
Santa Fe opens its season at Newberry next Friday at 7 p.m., while P.K. Yonge travels to Williston for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.