Gainesville ousted from playoffs with road loss

Gainesville first-year coach Mark Latsko and first-year starting quarterback Caelan Christian helped lead the Hurricanes to a 9-3 record. GHS fell to Springstead 27-7 on Friday in the Region 2A semifinals to end its season.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer/FILE
Published: Friday, November 22, 2013 at 11:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 22, 2013 at 11:54 p.m.

SPRING HILL — The Springstead Eagles controlled the line of scrimmage offensively with a solid running attack and played great defense by allowing only one Gainesville High touchdown en route to a convincing 27-7 win at Booster Stadium.

Gainesville (9-3) tied the game with 7:54 remaining in the second quarter when senior Tamarcus Faulkner IV capped a 67-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Ahmad Ivey had a 41-yard run to the Eagle 26 to help set up the score.

On the ensuing drive, however, the Eagles (11-1) went on a 13-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a Tyler Mahla to Daniel Wright 22-yard touchdown pass off a screen for a 14-7 Eagles' lead with 17.8 left in the half.

In the second half, the Eagles embarked on an 8-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in well-executed trick play. Mahla pitched back to Joe Jeffords and Jeffords then found a wide open Tyler Anderson, as he took it in for six. Ahmad Ivey blocked the extra point to keep the score at 20-7.

The 'Canes tried to mount a comeback when quarterback Caelan Christian hit senior Kenric Young for a 48-yard pass play to the Springstead 32, but the drive stalled and ended in a sack for a nine-yard loss.

Springstead put the final points on the board when Wright (27 carries, 156 yards) scored on a 1-yard run with less than a minute left.

The Eagles physical defense held Gainesville to only 224 yards of total offense.

Oregon commit and GHS standout senior running back Tony James didn't play as a result of a concussion suffered at the end of last week's game with Sunlake.

"I give all the credit to Coach (Mike) Garofano and his staff," Gainesville coach Mark Latsko said. "It's tough on the seniors, and I just can't say enough of the legacy they left and having to deal with three different head coaches.

“The loss hurts because we care, and we'll get stronger and faster in the offseason and build upon this year."

Garofano said, “Gainesville is a quality opponent, and they played their hearts out.

“They don't rebuild, they reload, and we executed well against a talented team. We controlled the clock offensively and played great defense."

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