Season Preview: Florida State Basketball

Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter) 

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida State Seminoles men’s basketball team are coming off its winningest regular season in school history at 26-9. They were also the first FSU team to ever go undefeated at home. However, with a disappointing early 2nd round tournament exit, they’re looking to build off last year and get back to form.

 
With five players either graduating or declaring for the draft, it’ll be no easy task. Freshman Jonathan Isaac, sophomore Dwayne Bacon, and redshirt junior Xavier Rathan-Mayes all left to go to to the NBA. Seniors Michael Ojo and Jarquez Smith both graduated and went undrafted. With the three drafted players gone, they lose an average of 39.2 points per game. They also lose three guys who could create plays on the court for the offense that was third best in points per game in the ACC.

Perhaps the biggest addition for this Florida State team is shooting guard M.J. Walker. Walker is a five-star freshman out of Jonesboro, Ga, and will likely make an immediate impact on the perimeter. He was the fourth-ranked shooting guard in the nation according to 247 Sports. At 6’5 and 205 lbs., he already has the frame to match up against the defenders of the ACC.

The Seminoles are also bringing in four four-star recruits, center Ikechukwu Obiagu, power forwards RaiQuan Gray and Wyatt Wilkes, and shooting guard Anthony Polite.

Although the Seminoles lost a few key players, they return some that could keep the offensive firepower strong. Junior shooting guard P.J. Savoy, who led the team in 3-point field goal percentage last year with 40 percent, looks to be the main shot-taker this season. Savoy played limited minutes, but was extremely efficient on offense, scoring .68 points per minute. This was more efficient than either Isaac, Bacon, or Rathan-Mayes.
With the loss of long-time center Michael Ojo, the Seminoles look to plug the post with junior Christ Koumadje. Although Koumadje isn’t as wide as Ojo, he’s 7’4″, three inches taller than Ojo. Koumadje is another efficient scorer who looks to get more shots this year, as he led the team last year with a .654 field goal percentage.

If there is one thing the Seminoles need to improve, it’s their free-throw percentage. Last year, they made only 69 percent of their free-throws, which ranked 217 in the nation.
The Seminoles begin their season at home on Nov. 14 against George Washington University.

Lincoln defense post shutout against Leon

Devin Craig, Correspondent

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Lincoln Trojans’ defense limited the Leon Lions football team to zero points and forced three fumbles, all while keeping Leon under 250 yards of total offense. 

“We wanted to limit big plays, and that’s what we did,” Lincoln linebacker Neryan Forston said.

Lincoln head coach Quinn Gray said the this was his team’s best defensive effort of the season.

“Absolutely, our defense did a hell of a job,” Gray said.

Lincoln posted 47 points on offense, exploding for 33 points in the third quarter.

Quarterback Chris Beard ran for one touchdown and threw for three more. Starting running back Caleb Matthews picked up over 125 yards rushing and two scores along the way.

Gray said before the half they were not playing up to par. 

Late in the third quarte, Matthews scored off of a 68-yard touchdown run that sent many hopeful Leon fans home and sucked the life out opposing side of the stadium.

Lincoln now sits at 3-4 on the season and is in the driver’s seat of the district.

“This win means that we’re district champs, and it gives us a chance to go to the dance. Our kids know that our job isn’t done yet,” Gray said.

Leon loss their seventh game of the season, this being their homecoming. The Lions are still winless on the season.

Leon outside linebacker Jeffrey Perry was a bright spot with 7 tackles on the night.

Godby wins in battle of unbeaten teams.

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.

 

Wakulla improves to 6-2 after win over Florida High

Rebecca Sweeney, Correspondent

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –The Wakulla High School football team took on Florida State University High School with the intention of gaining their sixth win of their 5-2 season. The War Eagles ended with a 38-7 victory.

Wakulla started the game with a 30-yard run by running back Cephus Greene, which then led to a touchdown from by running back Jordan Bolden with 6:52 left in the first quarter. The extra point gave the War Eagles a 7-0 lead.

Florida High tight end Andre Lightbourne scored the first touchdown for the Seminoles on a 13-yard pass from quarterback Bryson Hill, evening the score to 7-7.

Wakulla managed to score two more touchdowns in the second quarter, making the score at halftime  21-7.

The War Eagles added two more scores and an extra point to seal the game.  The loss leaves Florida High at 4-3 on the season.

“It was a great win tonight against a very good football team. Florida High has great talent, great running backs and great receivers,” Wakulla head coach Barry Klees said. “I thought we came out and were able to establish the run. We got off to a good start, controlled the clock and ended up with a little bit more depth tonight.” 
Wakulla High is now 6-2 and plays Rickards High School next week.

“We haven’t even thought about this,” Klees said. “We are going to go home and enjoy this win tonight and then we’ll start on Rickards tomorrow.”