Gainesville's defense keeps Panthers out of end zone

Gainesville free safety Henry Mongomery prepares to tackle Emare Hogan of Dr. Phillips during Friday's spring game at Citizens Field.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, May 23, 2014 at 11:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 23, 2014 at 11:07 p.m.

If anything, Friday's spring football game at Citizens Field showed just how far ahead Gainesville's defense is compared to its offense.

The Hurricanes D has some playmakers, the Hurricanes O is looking for some.

The three-quarter game between Gainesville and Orlando Dr. Phillips' varsity squads ended in a scoreless tie, with the junior varsity breaking it when Adam Cerlanek kicked a 28-yard field goal with five minutes to play for a 3-0 Hurricane win.

The positives for Gainesville — despite giving up 286 yards and 17 first downs — the Panthers didn't score. They went 0-for-6 on fourth-down situations and had four turnovers, with Hurricane free safety Henry Montgomery picking off two of the team's three interceptions.

The negatives, just 24 yards of offense and two first downs.

“I'm not extremely happy, I'm not extremely disappointed, it is a spring game,” second-year Hurricanes coach Mark Latsko said. “With what we are trying to do offensively, defense is always going be a little bit ahead. We got some good film and we will be able to break that down over the next couple of days and know what we need to work on specially for the summer time going into fall camp.”

Gainesville lost a couple of big-play offensive performers in running back Tony James and wide receiver Kenric Young, two speedsters who are heading to Oregon and Utah, respectively. Only two starters return offensively next season for the 'Canes — incoming junior quarterback Caelan Christian and offensive guard Andrew Markham.

A year ago, both teams reached the regional semifinals, with Gainesville falling at Springstead in Class 6A and Dr. Phillips falling at Tampa Plant in 8A.

“Neither team's offenses are going to be happy right now,” Latsko said. “I tip my hat to our defense, they came ready to play and was able to keep them out of the end zone.”

Besides Montgomery, among the defensive standouts were incoming senior linebacker Calvin Brown, linebackers Chris King and Ryan Paul, cornerbacks Ahmad Ivey and Krys Young, and defensive end Jordan Giberti.

Christian completed 8 of 13 passes for 46 yards, but was more effective punting, averaging 43.1 yards on eight punts, with a long of 61.

Gainesville, which has a spring kickoff classic set for Aug. 22 against Palm Bay Heritage at Citizens Field, will open the season at home six days later against area rival Columbia.

“It is a spring game, there were a lot of mistakes, a lot of penalties, lots of turnovers,” Latsko said. “We have some things we have to work on to get better. I have confidence we will get it done. Dr. Phillips is a good football team.”

Crescent City 30, P.K. Yonge 13: At Crescent City, rising junior running back Christian Ellis scored on a 70-yard touchdown in the first quarter to lead the Blue Wave in three quarters of varsity play Friday.

Antwain Patterson, who will be a senior defensive back next season, paced P.K. Yonge with seven solo tackles, one sack and an interception. Trailing 30-6 at halftime, the Blue Wave held the Raiders scoreless in the third quarter.

Sean Wiggs, an incoming sophomore, recovered two fumbles and scored on a 33-yard run in JV play during the fourth quarter.

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