HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
Despite loss to Columbia, Christian leads Hurricanes in right direction
Published: Monday, September 1, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 12:07 a.m.
Although his team fell one point short in its season opener to Columbia, no one can dispute the outstanding performance put on Thursday night by Gainesville junior quarterback Caelan Christian.
His stats say it all: 28 of 38 passing for 317 yards, three touchdowns and one scored rushing. He led a Hurricanes offensive onslaught of 531 yards for the night at Citizens Field, making the season opener one of the most thrilling in recent years.
The final score, a 44-43 defeat to the Tigers in overtime, overshadowed a great effort.
“At Gainesville High School, the football program knows how good Caelan Christian has been, and it just everyone else is getting to see him,” said Hurricane coach Mark Latsko. “He has done everything we have asked him to do.
“He is an extremely hard worker in the weight room, was on the boys weightlifting team, was on the summer workouts and conditioning. He runs up front when we are conditioning at the end. He is only going to get better. He is just a great young man and I'm glad everyone is getting to see he can play a little bit of football too.”
Christian connected with seven different GHS receivers, led by junior Dock Luckie Jr., Kyle McCall and tight end Jordan Giberti. While the 'Canes struggled offensively in the spring and showed improvement in the fall classic, they really pieced it together against Columbia, scoring on their first drive.
“It is a new offense, but when we don't make mistakes it is successful,” Christian said.
GHS returns to action Friday when it takes on city-rival Eastside at Citizens Field.
Julian Robinson, Dixie County: The junior running back ran for 277 yards on 21 carries with one touchdown in the Bears' 46-6 win at Taylor County.
Tyler Hughey, Santa Fe: The junior linebacker had 11 tackles, blocked a field goal and caused a fumble in the Raiders' 26-9 season-opening win over Newberry.
Kenyatta “Peanut” Patterson, Santa Fe: The junior running back/defensive back had 121 yards rushing with one touchdown and six tackles in the Raiders' win over Newberry.
Jamari Markham, Santa Fe: The junior offensive lineman graded 80 percent on the line that paved the way for an offense that averaged over eight yards per carry versus the Panthers.
Shelbie Hutto, Bell: The senior outside hitter had 31 kills with a 72 percentage as the Bulldogs went 1-1 for the week, losing to 5A Eastside and beating 1A Newberry, a Final Four team in 2013, in three straight sets.
Katie Jones, Dixie County: The junior middle had 22 kills, 10 service points, and four aces as the Bears opened their first week of competition 2-0.
Katelyn VanAernam, Dixie County: The senior setter had seven kills, 29 assists, 25 service points and six aces.
Larry Savage is the high school sports editor for The Gainesville Sun. He can be reached at (352) 374-5050 or emailed to at firstname.lastname@example.org. All athlete of the week nominations are made each Monday at 12-4 p.m.