By Andy Warrener
The Laker/Lutz News Correspondent
It’s hard to make conclusive statements about teams based on performances in a spring jamboree.
New players are still figuring out their roles and coaches are finding the best plays to make their teams succeed after only 20 days of practice, so first-year Freedom coach Todd Donohoe wasn’t disappointed his team lost 11-0 in a thunderstorm-shortened contest at host King May 24.
“This game was not indicative of our play,” Donohoe said. “We know as coaches how good we are.”
The Patriots were scheduled for the second half of the jamboree, but were able to play only one quarter before it was called. The Lions managed a safety and two fumble recoveries and Freedom struggled to move the ball offensively.
The Patriots never really got a chance to get into a rhythm as a weather delay followed by the cancellation limited their playing time. They tried several looks on offense, one using freshman Lee Carabali as a fixture in the backfield. The bruising fullback banged into defenders and did his best to dig out some running room.
“(Carabali) was defensive line last year, made the varsity team as a freshman,” Donohoe said. “He’s gonna be pretty good.”
Freedom had a thunder and lightning combination with Carabali and sophomore running back Andre Folkes behind him.
The Patriots also tried junior Alunte Fleshman and freshman Anthony Henry in the backfield, but the duo found little room to run.
Freedom’s defense allowed one 40-yard touchdown run, but was otherwise stingy. Sophomore end Malik Robinson leads a massive defensive front and junior linebacker Max Orr had one sack in the game.
A severely short-handed Wharton played the first half against Tampa Bay Tech, falling 14-0. The Wildcats suited up without a core of veterans, including sophomore quarterback Chase Litton and junior linebacker Rocky Enos.
Junior Vernon Hargreaves, who is one of the highest rated cornerback recruits in the nation, lined up under center, but without the strong-armed Litton leading the offense the Titans were able to clamp down as Hargreaves found little running room.
Freshman DeAndre Brown, who is already 6-feet-6 and 260 pounds, stood out as a big addition at offensive tackle, holding his own against Tech junior Antonio Guerad.
On the defensive side, the Wildcats looked a little out of sorts without Enos at linebacker. Wharton also lost junior Jacob Meier early in the contest.
Junior Chris Myers was a bright spot for the Wildcats as he moves to defensive end. He recorded a sack and proved difficult for the large Titans linemen to block.
An intriguing move for the Wharton defense was putting Hargreaves at safety, which allows him to influence more plays than when he is at cornerback. He snagged an interception and wasn’t shy going in to make tackles on run plays.
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