Ridaught: Oh, what a relief it is

Generic football
Generic football

Walking the hallways at school today had to feel a little different for a couple of area football teams.

This past Friday night, St. Francis Catholic Academy and Keystone Heights each won their first football game of the season.

St. Francis Catholic nearly pitched a shutout in a 12-2 win at home against First Academy-Leesburg.

Junior Devin Rollins carried the ball 25 times for 123 yards and sophomore Avi Steiner added 67 yards and a score on only five carries for the Wolves (1-3).

Steiner added 74 yards receiving and a touchdown on only three receptions from junior quarterback Cooper Lieffers.

Defensively, senior Enrique Viana had three tackles for a loss (TFL) and sophomore Henry Nee had one TFL on a sack. Rollins added an interception while junior Richard Jones and senior Dalton Dean each had a fumble recovery.

“Defense played fast and aggressive from the start and never really let First Academy get the ball moving,” said first-year St. Francis Catholic coach James Langham. “Offense is finally starting to click and be a dynamic force that enables us to take advantage of opposing defenses through our multiple looks. We still have work to do, but we are on the right path forward.”

It was the first win for the Wolves’ program in three years after back-to-back 0-10 seasons. Their last victory on the field was a 25-15 win at St. John Paul II (Tallahassee) on Oct. 11, 2019.

“It was a long time coming, too long honestly,” Langham said. “I couldn’t be happier and prouder of my team with the way they stepped up and fought all game long to pick up that W. They finally got to experience what a win feels like and the best part was they got to experience it at home.”

Now the Wolves will seek their first winning streak since winning two in a row in 2018.

“Our goal is to not just win one game,” Langham said. “We want to be competitive in all of our games and win multiple games this year, so we still have a long way to go with six games still on the schedule this season.”

St. Francis Catholic, guests on “The Prep Zone” sports show last month, will host Seven Rivers Christian (Lecanto) this Friday night at 7 p.m.

Keystone Heights (1-2) defeated Impact Christian Academy (Jacksonville), 38-12, at home.

Juniors Cartez Daniels and Ben Ulsch each rushed for 104 yards in the victory.

Not only was it the Indians’ first win of 2022 but it was also their first points of the season. They were shut out previously at Eastside (26-0) and at Fort White (28-0).

Last week, almost half (7 games) of the 15 games in Mainstreet’s coverage area involved a winless team.

P.K. Yonge, which just played its second game due to COVID-19 and weather issues, is still seeking its first win of the season.

The Blue Wave (0-2) lost at home to Union County (Lake Butler), 55-7, this past Friday.

“So far, it’s been a year of adversity,” said P.K. Yonge coach Kevin Doelling. “With the first month of games being consistently affected by the weather as well as losing a few handfuls of athletes to COVID-19 sickness, we’ve had to adjust on the go and make the best of our circumstances.”

Doelling is doing his best to keep a young club optimistic.

“They’re a resilient group with a mature understanding of what we’ve gone through so far as a team and it’s something I really respect about our group,” he said.

P.K. Yonge’s week No. 2 game at Hawthorne was moved to this Friday, Sept. 23, due to COVID-19. The host Hornets (3-0) defeated Orlando Christian Prep, 14-11, in overtime to remain unbeaten.

“The only bounce back I’m concerned about is physically,” Doelling noted. “Union County was a very physically mature group of young men so getting healthy is priority number one for us especially considering Hawthorne is similar in play style. We’ve done a good job of keeping our focus on the opponent for the week and we’ll continue to only concern ourselves with what could help us win now.”

Either Santa Fe (Alachua) or Gainesville will win their first game of the season later this week.

The Raiders (0-4) host the Hurricanes (0-4) this Friday at 7:30 p.m. in a match-up of winless teams.

GHS lost on campus to Clay (Green Cove Springs), 28-10, on Thursday. The Hurricanes, who are playing with a roster made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores, have been outscored 193-30 in four games.

Santa Fe lost to state-ranked North Marion (Citra), 40-6, in a 2S-District 7 game. The Colts (4-0) are ranked seventh in the state in 2S by MaxPreps.

The GHS-Santa Fe game will be broadcast (audio only) online at MainStreetDailyNews.com beginning at 7:15 p.m.

A pair of teams in the Tri-County area are hoping to get their first win soon.

Bronson is in the same situation as GHS.

The Eagles (0-4) will travel to Cornerstone Charter Academy (Belle Isle) (0-3) for another matchup of teams seeking their first win.

This past Friday, Bronson did score a season-high nine points in a 30-9 loss at home against Florida A&M (Tallahassee). Plus, the Eagles won last year’s meeting, 26-8, at home.

So, there is hope.

Trenton (0-4) will have to wait at least more week.

The Tigers played much better in a 22-14 loss at Wewahitchka (3-1).

“Definitely big strides made,” said Trenton first-year coach Cameron Porch. “We’ve talked about all along with how young we are that we felt like we’d be playing our best toward the end of the year. Hopefully, this is an indicator that that’s where we’re headed. Played well enough to win, but can’t continue to turn the ball over and expect to keep ourselves in the game.”

It was a season-high in points and the closest Trenton has come to a victory this season.

However, the Tigers have a bye week this week and then host unbeaten Chiefland (4-0) on Sept. 30.

With October games against Branford (3-1), Williston (3-0), and Lafayette (Mayo) (3-1), all on the road, the Tigers could face the likelihood of finishing the season without a victory in 2022.

“Motivation hasn’t been a factor yet,” Porch said. “We’ve got a good young group that knows we are building for beyond this year. A bye week is a chance for us to correct some technical flaws and to heal up.”

Games involving winless teams in bold

Thursday, Sept. 15

Clay (Green Cove Springs) 28, Gainesville 10

Friday, Sept. 16

Bell 35, Taylor (Pierson) 3

Bradford (Starke) 28, Eastside 0

Buchholz 48, Creekside (St. Johns) 41

Chiefland 35, Dixie County (Cross City) 0

Columbia (Lake City) 21, Madison County 0

Florida A&M (Tallahassee) 30, Bronson 9

Fort White 45, Hamilton County (Jasper) 6

Hawthorne 14, Orlando Christian Prep 11 (OT)

Keystone Heights 38, Impact Christian Academy (Jacksonville) 12

North Marion (Citra) 40, Santa Fe (Alachua) 6

St. Francis Catholic Academy 12, First Academy (Leesburg) 2

Union County (Lake Butler) 55, P.K. Yonge 7

Wewahitchka 22, Trenton 14

Williston 56, Branford 0

Friday, Sept. 23

Branford at Paxon (Jacksonville), 6:30 p.m.

Bronson at Cornerstone Charter Academy (Bell Isle), 7 p.m.

Jefferson County (Monticello) at Dixie County (Cross City), 7 p.m.

Oak Hall School at Eagle’s View (Jacksonville), 7 p.m.

Seven Rivers Christian (Lecanto) at St. Francis Catholic Academy, 7 p.m.

Bell at Hamilton County (Jasper), 7:30 p.m.

Buchholz at Vanguard (Ocala), 7:30 p.m.

Columbia (Lake City) at Trinity Christian (Jacksonville), 7:30 p.m.

Fort White at Williston, 7:30 p.m.

Gainesville at Santa Fe (Alachua), 7:30 p.m.

Keystone Heights at Interlachen, 7:30 p.m.

Munroe (Quincy) at Bradford (Starke), 7:30 p.m.

P.K. Yonge at Hawthorne, 7:30 p.m.

Suwannee (Live Oak) at North Marion (Citra), 7:30 p.m.

Union County (Lake Butler) at Newberry, 7:30 p.m.

OFF – Eastside, Chiefland, Trenton

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