Royal A. Shepherd (RoyalShepherdFS on Twitter), Director
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –
Highlights from Rickards High School and Miami Carol City at the 2nd Annual Jonathan A. P. Ferrell Kickoff Classic.
Jason Merry, Correspondent (@JasonMerryFS on Twitter)
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Rickards Raiders came into Friday’s contest with a record of 5-1 and the Raines Vikings had a record of 6-1.
The Raiders were without Purdue commit Destin Coates due to an injury. That meant they would have to rely heavily on Louisville commit, quarterback Marcus Riley.
Riley ended the game 18-34 for 177 passing yards. He added 64 yards on the ground on 22 carries.
Early on in the contest, the offenses were slow and by halftime, only one touchdown had been scored and that was by the Vikings.
The Raiders did miss a field goal, which costs them three points. Rickards returned a kickoff for a touchdown that was called back for holding. The Raiders tallied up nine penalties.
“I don’t know what the penalty count was but it took back a lot of key plays from us, even defensively,” Rickards head coach Quinton Lewis said.
In the second half, more penalties kept costing the Raiders as the Vikings went on to score four more touchdowns which put the final score to 35-0.
“We have to make plays in the second half. We had opportunities to make plays and when they put the ball on the ground, we missed tackles,” Lewis said. “We have to continue to play. That team elevated their play and we have to elevate ours.”
This loss puts the Raiders at 5-2 and they head next week to Crawfordville to play against the Wakulla War Eagles who have a record of 6-2.
“I thought we did a good job, we just lost the second half and throughout the game, we have to continue to make plays,” Lewis said.
Genesia Davis, Correspondent
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –It’s all about bragging rights when it comes to the Rickards High Raiders versus Godby High Cougars rivalry game. It was the first time both teams went into this rivalry game with undefeated records. A battle for the best high school team in the big bend.
Godby is known for its excellent front seven that play on defense; however, Rickards High is known for its powerful offense.
The Cougars started the game receiving the kickoff, but got a quick three and out. Rickards’ first drive ended up similar. Both teams were held scoreless through the first quarter.
At the start of the second quarter, the Raiders put the first points on the scoreboard. A Raider field goal gave them a 3-0 lead with 11:50 left in the second quarter.
Godby received the kickoff returned it to their 32-yard line. Due to running back Jerry Ray’s running, the Cougars marched down the field. Godby eventually scored on a quarterback sneak with 6:16 left in the second quarter, making the score 7-3. The Cougars defense stiffened and stopped the Raiders from scoring before halftime.
Rickards started the second half receiving the football, but they came up short on their first possession after going for it on fourth down.
The Cougars took over on the Raiders 49-yard line and scored on another quarterback sneak at the 4:26 mark in the third. The PAT made the score 14-3. The Cougars front seven held the Rickards Raiders scoreless the remainder of the third quarter.
Rickards managed to kick a field goal with 7:13 left in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 14-6. The Cougars answered with a touchdown on a sweep play. Godby was now ahead 21-6.
The Raiders received the ball, but the Cougar defense shut them down again with an interception to seal the game.
Defensive ends Kyler Laing and Trey Laing , nicknamed the double trouble brothers talked about what gave them the edge.
“We noticed the tackles were kind of leaning all night, so we used our slap and rip technique to get around them to make tackles,” Kyler said.
“Our pass rush is very deadly and we stayed composed and worked our bread and butter slap and rip technique,” Trey said. “This is the best front seven I’ve coached in eleven years of high school football.”
“This is the best front seven I’ve coached in eleven years of high school football,” Godby head coach Corey Fuller said.
Andrew Miller, Correspondent
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Godby overpowered Rickards by a final of 65-50 on Tuesday night, advancing them to the next round of the state playoffs.
They played classic Godby basketball for almost the entire game, full-court pressing their opponent on defense and attacking the paint on offense until Rickards got into foul trouble.
Rickards (19-9) tried giving Godby (25-1) a taste of their own medicine with full-court pressure to start off the game, but it did not seem to slow Godby down.
“They pressed up on us all night, so the lane was open for us to attack,” Godby point guard Montre Edwards said.
Instead, the Cougars jumped out to a commanding lead in the first quarter—one it never relinquished—holding the Raiders scoreless for the first six minutes of the game.
Godby’s lead swelled in the second quarter as the home team attacked the paint relentlessly. Senior center Corbin Merritt had a thunderous dunk and subsequent block on the defensive end with four and a half minutes to go in the quarter, which is a testament to the team’s insistent hustle and aggressiveness.
At one point, Godby led 26-5. Rickards responded with an 8-0 run to get them back into the game at 28-13 with a minute left in the half, including a jump shot as the halftime buzzer sounded. Godby led 29-15 at halftime.
The momentum stayed with Godby in the second half. They immediately came out on a 13-6 run to double Rickards’ score 42-21, a product of continuing to force turnovers and draw fouls. At times, Rickards looked frantic and could not effectively set up their offense.
Many of the Raiders’ offensive woes can be attributed to the Cougars’ unshakeable defense. The Edwards twins kept tight pressure on the ball and Merritt was bothering shots all night, a tough combination to overcome when your bench is not as deep as your opponent’s.
“We played tremendous defense,” Godby head coach Andy Colville said. “To come out here and play that well from start to finish, I think we proved that we are one of the better—if not the best—teams in this area.”
When you take a step back and look at what Colville and his squad have accomplished this year, it is hard not to be impressed.
“A lot of them didn’t play last year.” Colvile said. “And none of them played two years ago when we were undefeated. I think that says a lot about our program and our kids, to have the chance to go back to Lakeland with not one player that was on that [2014-15] team.”
Godby advances to the regional semifinals against Ribault, where they will play on February 24 for a trip to the Final Four.
Brianna Biancardi, Correspondent (@ on Twitter)
It was senior night last Wednesday at Rickards High School, as the Raiders played host to the Lincoln Trojans.
Rickards (17-5) entered the game as the 25th ranked team in the state, but they would have a tough test in this matchup, as the sixth ranked Trojans (18-2) came into this game having lost only twice in their 20 games this season.
Lincoln came out strong offensively, led by senior big-man Dwight Wilson, who recorded 20-points and helped lead his team to a 63-50 victory.
While they did come up short in this one, Rickards was able to put up 50 points, as junior guard Vincent McCray was hot from beyond the arc, knocking down five three-pointers.
“We played hard,” said Lincoln Head Coach Dimitric Salters after the game as e summed up his team’s performance on the court. “We played smart.”
The Trojans’ schedule won’t get any easier for them, as they get set for the District Semifinal this Tuesday. Coach Salters stressed the importance of preparation, citing practice and taking advantage of other teams’ weaknesses as the keys to his team’s success moving forward.
Meanwhile, the Raiders will look to bounce back from their 13-point defeat and close out the season strong.
Alec Chessari, Correspondent (@ on Twitter)
Rickards High School had four key players sign a national letter of intent to division one programs. In front of a packed gymnasium, Anfernee Simmons (Albany State), DJ Phillips (Florida A&M), Travius Harris (Troy) and Tavyn Jackson (University of South Carolina) all signed their letter with much excitement.
“Most proud of these kids education, they are smart kids classroom and football wise they are going to be great regardless from day one. Also how hard they work, every day I challenged them and asked them to do something they did it and I hope the next class puts in that much work and more,” Rickards head coach Quinton Lewis said.
This senior class helped the Raiders win their first district championship game in 15 years. They won the city championship, made it to the third round of the FHSAA playoffs and finished with a 10-2 record (best in school history).
Notable accolades and stats for these four signees:
Anfernee Simmons – 54 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT and 1 TD senior season. Career stats 124 tackles and 4 INT. Anfernee also played in the Florida/Georgia game.
Derearl Phillips – 145/243, 2,634 yards, 23 Touchdowns; 93 rushes 605 yards, 5 TD senior season. Career stats 355/601, 5,557 yards, 45 touchdowns; 269 rushes 866 yards, 10 TD. DJ also was first team All-Big Bend; third team class 5A All-State team and played in Florida/Georgia game.
Travius Harris – 35 tackles, 7 tackles for loss senior season. Career stats 70 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 4 sacks. Travius also participated in second team class 5A All-State team and the Florida/Georgia game.
Tavyn Jackson – 76 tackles, 4 INT, 9 pass deflections, 1 INT return TD senior season. Career stats 143 tackles, 9 INT, 24 pass deflections, 1 sack. Tavyn also participated in the first team class 5A All-State team; first team All-Big Bend and the FACA All-star game.
Emma Vargas, Correspondent (@EmmaVargas on Twitter)
Tallahassee, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – Rickards put an end to Godby’s 20-game win streak, giving the Cougars their first loss of the season with a 66-54 victory in front of the Raiders’ rowdy home crowd.
Alic Troutman scored a game-high 25 points for the Raiders (17-5), including a few rim-rocking dunks that ignited the crowd. “It felt good to give Godby their first loss,” Troutman said. “I’m glad it was us and not anybody else.”
Troutman is just a sophomore, and as great as he played against Godby, the 6-foot-6 big man could get even better with more experience. “Alic is growing up,” Rickards coach Eli Bryant said. “The kid turned 16 on Tuesday. He’s never played in front of this many people in his life.”
Godby (20-1) tied the game 46-46 with a 3-pointer by Trey Jones, equaling Rickards score for the first time since 2:39 left in the second quarter. The Cougars tried to amp up the pressure with a full court press after the basket. Rickards had no trouble breaking it, and Troutman slammed it home at the other end with an emphatic dunk.
Back-to-back free throw opportunities, and a 3-pointer from Vincent McCray put the Raiders back in the driver seat. Then they put the pedal to the metal closing the game out on a 13-2 run.
Alec Chessari, Correspondent (@ )
Tallahassee, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – The Rickards Raiders had a home playoff game against the West Florida Jaguars that came down to the final drive of the game for the Raiders. Rickards won in a nail biter 33-30.
Rickards (10-1) got off to an early start scoring on the first drive of the game. DJ Phillips found Marcus Riley for the 12-yard reception to put the Raiders on the Jaguar 26-yard line. On the next play DJ Phillips checked his reads and found no receivers open down the field and scrambled 26 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders missed the PAT giving them an early 6-0 lead.
“It was a pretty good game, West Florida is very good defensively,” said Raiders head coach Quinton Lewis. “They haven’t given up more than 14 points a game in the last eight games and did a lot of things on defense that were complicated and that stagnated our offense a little bit.”
The Jaguars (9-3) forced the Raiders to punt while they were backed up into their own end zone. The Raiders snap was low and sailed right across the grass and through the back of the end zone for a safety for West Florida.
The Jaguars capitalized on the miscue by the Raiders and scored on the next possession giving them a 9-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Raiders would then go into halftime trailing 16-12.
“They say big things come in small packages,” said Lewis. “I told them at halftime just don’t give up, lets battle it out these next 24 minutes and see if we can win a football game.”
Coming out of halftime both teams turned the ball over on their opening drives. West Florida got it together late in the third quarter when Devin Abrams broke free from multiple tackles and scored on a 16-yard carry making the lead 23-12.
Next drive for the Raiders, DJ Phillips found Javon Wooten for a gain of 35 yards bringing Rickards to the 15-yard line. Phillips carried the ball for a gain of ten yards to bring them within five yards of cutting the lead. Destin Coates would then take the handoff and leap over the line and into the end zone for a touchdown. Raiders still trailing 23-18.
The Raiders found themselves trailing 30-18 with 9:30 remaining in the ball game until Phillips found a hole and broke free for the touchdown to cut the deficit to just five points with seven minutes remaining.
Rickards turned the ball over with 4:52 remaining and down five points still. Their defense forced West Florida to punt with 2:07 in the ball game. Phillips converted a 4th and 15 on a pass to Wooten who kept their hopes of scoring alive. With 30.3 seconds remaining Phillips found Wooten again, this time for the game winning touchdown and the 2-point conversion was good.
DJ Phillips 11/24 264 yards 2TD and 16 carries 94 yards 2 TD
Destin Coates 12 carries 55 yards 1 TD
Javon Wooten 6 receptions 117 yards 2 TD
Javon Peterson 9 tackles 1 INT
Justin Cruse 11 tackles (3 for loss)
Tavyn Jackson 7 tackles 1 pass deflect
Tyler Buckner 4 tackles 2 sacks
By: Brittany Defran & Alec Chessari
On the slate for today…
High school football playoff update
FSU women’s basketball battles UCONN
FAMU football’s comeback win overshadowed by brawl
FSU football dominates Boston College
FSU basketball 2-0 to start the season
Destin Coates has received quite a bit of attention from colleges for the performances he displays every Friday night. Through the nine game regular season he has rushed for 1,170 yards on 129 carries along with 17 touchdowns.
The Rickards Raider’s junior running back played in all nine games this season. He helped his team finish the regular season on an eight-game win streak. The Raiders are 8-1, and 2-0 in their district 5A. They won the city championship and also won the district championship for the first time in 15 years.
“I think we are the best team in Tallahassee. We can make a state run and be state champions for the first time in school history,” Coates said. “For us to go far just [we have to] staying composed and staying disciplined.”
Coates averages nine yards per carry and 135 rushing yards a game. He has received four offers this season from the University of Alabama Birmingham, University of Central Florida, University of Southern Mississippi and Troy. Based on his play he could have more offers coming. He ranks in the top-40 running backs in the state of Florida.
“He’s doing a great job. He is learning how to work hard, how to continue to push himself, how to reach limits that he has never reached before,” Raiders head coach Quinton Lewis said. “I think that’s his biggest thing. He comes out here every day ready to work, ready to compete and ready to get better. We have been seeing him challenge his teammates now for them to be great also and now it is all meshing together.”
Coates isn’t only a star on the football field but also a star in the classroom. He has maintained above a 3.0 GPA taking higher level courses. With his GPA and ACT scores being well over the NCAA D-1 athlete’s requirements he is eligible to play immediately at the next level.
“I can’t say enough about his GPA and his 22 or 25 on ACT,” Lewis said. “He is a great student, even when the guidance counselor challenged him to take harder courses he accepted those challenges and is making straight A’s right now. He is a great student and that’s the biggest thing.”
Raiders’ running back coach Devin Rispress has been working with Coates since June and believes he may be the best running back to touch Rickards campus by the time he graduates. Rispress said he is a man amongst boys when on the football field. Rispress said he believes Coates is a few light years ahead of his age.
“I have worked on blocking keeping his composure and besides that he’s a well-rounded running back and has a god given talent,” Raiders running back coach Devin Rispress said. “Besides that he has come in polished but I polished him a little more with keeping his composure, blocking and also reading the holes and being a little more patient.”
Coates’s work ethic shows up in the way he plays the game and also the way he makes sure the team keeps their composure on Fridays. He lets his play in the game do the talking.
“His work ethic is real good, we can improve on it a little more,” coach Rispress said. “The only reason I say that is because we are going to get him on the track. We are going to get him faster, bigger and stronger. He comes out and works hard every day. There hasn’t been a day since he came here back in June that he hasn’t worked hard or even make me have to tell him to go harder.”
Coates feels more comfortable after he transferred from Mosley to Rickards. He has dreams of playing on Sundays in the future.
“I feel like it’s been the best decision I made thus far to come back home and play for Rickards high school. We beat Wakulla and beat Godby and won the district championship for the first time in 15 years,” Coates said. “My goal is to make it to the NFL and one day be able to take care of all my family.”