HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Roundup: Presley provides spark in Raiders' finale
Published: Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 10:53 p.m.
ALACHUA — Ironically, sometimes it just takes one big pass play to get a running game going. Santa Fe certainly proved that in the Raiders' 34-7 rout of Keystone Heights on Thursday night.
After a scoreless first quarter, Santa Fe threw deep on the first play of the second quarter and ended up with a 39-yard hook up from Marcus Archer to Tray Presley to the 11-yard line. Presley ran three straight times from there, scoring on a 2-yard dive, and the Raiders (6-4) never looked back.
The 39-yard bomb marked the only completed pass in the first half for Santa Fe, though the Raiders picked up 177 yards rushing in that half alone.
“We gave them a formation that we run all the time in practice but have never run in a game,” Santa Fe coach Bill Wiles said. “We figured that No. 6 (Presley) is a pretty good athlete, so let's just see if he can catch it.”
The Raiders opened the season 1-3 before winning five of their last six games, but their fourth-place finish in District 5-5A will keep them home for the playoffs. The Indians (5-5), on the other hand, won District 4-4A with a 4-0 record but went 1-5 in non-district games, often against higher-classed opponents.
The Indians looked like a playoff team on one drive in the second half. After an Archer fumble at the end of a 29-yard run, Keystone Heights took the field and marched 73 yards for a score to cut a 20-0 halftime deficit to 20-7. The final play came on a fourth-down pass from Blake Valenzuela to Brighton Gibbs for a 5-yard score, where Gibbs barely reached over the goal line before being pulled back.
That drive gave the Indians their only highlight and accounted for almost half their yardage on the night. Santa Fe added two more scores in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
“We turned the ball over there, and you just can't do that,” Wiles said. “I don't care who you are playing. Still, at no point did I feel they could stop us.”
Presley finished out his senior campaign with 20 carries for 117 yards and three scores, which slid him five yards past the 1,000-yard mark on the season. Archer also had 102 yards rushing.
Bell 32, Branford 0: A week away from their first playoff game in school history, the host Bulldogs showed no signs of slowing down in their regular-season finale.
After a scoreless opening quarter, Bell running back Austin Ritchey sparked a 24-point second frame with a 53-yard run through the Buccaneers' defense. Ritchey, a senior, finished with 17 carries for 176 yards and was pulled at halftime with the Bulldogs (8-2) holding a four-score lead over Branford (3-7).
Bell quarterback Jacob Johnson added 123 yards through the air on 3-of-7 passing. Johnson hit fellow senior Bruce Thomas for a 61-yard strike in the second quarter, who also had a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown, and then found Brandon Denham on a 30-yard reception in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs' defense also pitched its first shutout in the last two seasons ahead of Bell's Region 5-1A quarterfinal next Friday against Jasper Hamilton County.