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Gateway, St. Cloud spring football winners Thursday

Posted on Friday, May 19, 2017 at 11:15 am

Gateway defensive end Dennis Briggs takes a break during the Panthers 25-6 win Thursday over Liberty. Photo/Rick Pedone

By Rick Pedone
Sports Editor

Liberty’s new football coach, Doug Gabriel, liked much of what he saw, except the scoreboard, Thursday at the spring game at Gateway.

The Chargers were on the short side of a 25-6 final, but Gabriel said that his defense played well and the offense has potential.

“I thought our defense played very well,” he said. “We have very good talent at most of our positions. What we need to do is to make better decisions and execute better from our quarterback position. I’m confident that we’ll get that worked out over time.”

Gateway Coach Marlin Roberts watched his team play well with new running backs.

One of them, John Simidey, scored all three Gateway touchdowns, setting one of those up with a 40-yard run. Returning quarterback Maurice Adams kept two scoring drives alive with clutch passes.

“John has been patiently waiting behind guys who were starting the past couple of years. We’ve known that he can run the ball pretty well, and he had a chance to show that tonight,” Roberts said.

Adams connected with transfer tight end Kahlil Lisbon for 15 yards and a first down to keep the Panthers’ first scoring drive alive. It was capped by Simidey’s 1-yard run for a 6-0 lead.

Simidey’s long run highlighted Gateway’s next scoring drive, which covered 90 yards. Simidey went in from the 1 to make it 13-0 after Estaban Morales added the PAT.

Simidey ran 37 yards for the Panthers’ final TD in the third quarter.

If Simidey answered some of the questions about Gateway’s backfield, there was never any doubt as to who is the anchor of the Panthers’ defense – defensive end Dennis Briggs, who displayed his talent in front of a half dozen college coaches.

Briggs shoved his way into the Liberty backfield and sacked quarterback Jehani Robinson in the end zone for a safety to make it 22-0 in the third quarter.

Lisbon will join Briggs and several other returnees on a defensive line that should be formidable next season.

“I think so. Our front seven is pretty good,” Roberts said. “We still need a lot of work, though.”

Morales kicked a 36-yard field goal for Gateway’s final three points.

Liberty’s defense yielded a couple long drives, but it also displayed playmakers like defensive backs Bobby Davis and Elante Marion. Davis made a pair of interceptions, and Marion added another.

Linebacker Da’mond Young had a pair of sacks.

The Chargers scored in the fourth quarter when Robinson threw a swing pass to Sterley St. Felix, who turned it into an 87-yard TD play.


St. Cloud rolls over Lake Minneola

By J. Daniel Pearson
For the News-Gazette

Heading into spring football practice, St. Cloud head coach Bryan Smart felt his offense had a chance to be pretty good.  Nothing happened in the spring game to change his mind.

Charles Robinson and Seth Johnson combined for 148 yards rushing and Colt Smith fired a pair of touchdown passes as the Bulldogs defeated the Minneola Hawks, 28-7, in a three-quarter game on Thursday night at Gannarelli Field.

The fourth quarter was a junior varsity contest, with the Hawks coming out on top, 7-0.

“With most of our skill players coming back, I felt this offense had a chance to be special and I think we saw that tonight,” Smart said.  “But the key to success for us will be to keep healthy.   We are a little light in experienced depth so avoiding injuries will be vital.”

The Bulldogs offense scored touchdowns on four of its six possessions in the first half.

Opening the game on offense, Robinson capped a seven-play, 70-yard drive with a 28-yard touchdown run.

Smith made it 14-0 midway through the first period, hitting Johnny Fritz on a 46-yard touchdown pass. The Bulldogs had a chance to up the lead late in the period, but the Hawks’ Kennan Johnson made an outstanding over the shoulder interception of a Smith pass in the end zone.

Following a short punt that was downed on the St. Cloud 40, the Bulldogs needed just two plays to make it 21-0.  Johnson ripped off a 16-yard run before backup Cash Udsted broke one tackle and swept off the left side on a 24-yard touchdown run.

Smith capped the Bulldog scoring late in the second period, hitting Fritz on a 29-yard pass to make it 28-0.

The Hawks only score came late in the third period, when Fred Jackson capped off a 12-play, 75-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown run.  Despite Jackson rushing for 119 yards and Minneola gaining 245 yards of total offense in three quarters, Smart said his defense played well.

“They run a different offense that is really hard to prepare for and that running back (Jackson) is the real deal,” Smart said.  “They have some good athletes, so I was impressed we kept them out of the end zone for most of the game.”

For the game, Robinson finished with 80 yards on 11 carries and Johnson had 68 on seven totes.  Smith completed 5-of-13 for 126 yards.