Weekly Report: FSU Spring Football Report with Head Coach Willie Taggart

 

Brianna Biancardi, Correspondent (@bribiancardiFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, Fl. – Florida State’s head football coach Willie Taggart held his first official pre-spring press conference this past Monday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

Taggart addressed the media and responded to questions regarding the program, team and upcoming spring practices.

Taggart initiated the conference with a shoutout to the men’s and women’s basketball team for their success, including the men who will now advance to Elite 8 on Saturday night against Michigan. Taggart continued to express his support for the Noles and finished his commencement by stating, “It’s good to be around winners.”

Taggart then referenced to Florida State football. By the look on his face and the sound in his voice, his excitement about the upcoming spring season, as well as his involvement within the program, was crystal clear.

“I’m ready to see them go through the next process of another spring ball, Coach Taggart said. “We’ve been in the wait room and now it’s time to go out and execute on the football field.” Continue reading Weekly Report: FSU Spring Football Report with Head Coach Willie Taggart

Seminoles Stave Off Comeback Effort

Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The No. 21 UCF Knights came into Tuesday’s game with the 7th-best team ERA in the country, but Florida State still generated quality offense in a 6-4 victory.

The No. 8 Seminoles (16-4, 3-3) were kept at bay by the Knights through the first 2 innings. But with 2 outs in the 3rd, second baseman Nick Derr hit a two-run home run to right-center field for his 4th home run of the year.

The ‘Noles followed it up with another big inning in the 4th. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, J.C. Flowers hit a ball through the middle to send home Drew Mendoza. With the bases loaded shortstop Mike Salvatore hit into a sacrifice fly to bring home Steven Wells. Nick Derr added to the damage with an RBI single to center field.

Seminole starting pitcher Andrew Karp faltered a little in the 2nd, hitting the first batter of the inning, and then allowing 2 singles to load the bases with 1 out. Karp and the Seminoles got out of the inning with a pop out to Salvatore.

Karp would cruise through the next 5 innings, save for a solo home run in the 4th inning.  Things almost came unraveled for Karp and the Seminoles in the 8th inning, when UCF first baseman Rylan Thomas hit a two-run home run that barely scraped by the left field foul pole to cut the Knight’s deficit to 6-3.

After 117 pitches, Karp’s day was done. He struck out 10 and walked none over 7.1 IP.

Gage Hutchinson came in relief, and almost got the Seminoles into more trouble. Dallas Beaver singled to score Matthew Mika to bring them to 6-4. Hutchinson was able to get the final strikeout to get the Seminoles out of their biggest jam.

The Seminoles and Knights play again Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.

 

Feature Story: Godby High Boys Basketball coach Andrew Colville

Dimetry Dixon, Correspondent (@DimetryDixonFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – In order to understand the Godby Cougars boy’s head basketball coach Andrew Colville, you have to first know who has helped shape and impact his coaching career.

Throughout his journey as a coach, Colville looked up to former UCLA men’s basketball coach, John Wooden. In his career as a head coach, Wooden was named national coach of the year six times, he also won 10 NCAA national championships in a 12-year span while he was coaching at UCLA. Wooden’s record with the Bruins was 620-147 and he currently holds an NCAA men’s basketball record of 88 consecutive games won.

“The main role model I had growing up was John Wooden, the legendary coach from UCLA

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Similar to Wooden, Colville has helped put countless basketball players in college each year with full scholarships and, continues to maintain a successful program each year. He is also beloved by not only formers players, but also the community of Tallahassee for his work as a coach.

In 2015, Colville not only led Godby to an undefeated season with a record of 31-0 but also brought the 2015 4A-state championship title to Tallahassee.

Last year, the Cougars went 25-2 and made it to the playoffs, but came up short in the semi-finals with a 56-52 loss to the Ribault Trojans. The Cougars made it back to the playoffs this year but were eliminated after losing to the Rickards Raiders in the regional semi-finals, 67-56.

“A lot of people have a good team, not as many have good programs. You need to have a good program, not just a good team,” Colville said. “You just work with the young guys and keep your work ethic going. Our goal is to get to Lakeland. Some years it is easy with the talent we have. We’re young this year and on any given night I feel we can beat anybody.”

Colville talked about how and why you should treat every player on the team different.  He also spoke about how he has changed over the years dealing with different players.

“I’m a little old school but I adjusted over the years, I worked for a guy name Monte Taw, that coached at the University of New Orleans, where I coached at the time,” Colville said. “And one day he said I treat everybody different. So, it is true you have to treat each individual differently because you got to get the most out of all of them because they are all not the same person.”

Colville also took his entire team to Las Vegas last year in December to experience other things outside of basketball. He talked about what it was like to take the team on a journey.

“To take them out west to see a different part of the country was the best because a lot of them may not have gotten this opportunity in their life,” Colville said. “I just wanted to get them out there to show them there is a different world out there.”

With his success at Godby High School, Colville continues to impact high school players just like his role model John Wooden.

 

Franchise Sports Spotlight: Trey Fisher

Devin Craig, Correspondent (@DevinCraigFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –  Naturally, you would assume that someone like North Florida Christian quarterback Trey Fisher, who’s father is one of the best coaches in all of college football, would leave his fate up to nepotism. If you didn’t know him, you’d figure he would coast throughout life while lazily siphoning clout, accolades and success from his last name.

NFC assistant coach Eddy Arza doesn’t agree. He  said Fisher is as hardworking and dedicated as they come.

“Trey leads by example he never wants to take a break, always runs sprints full speed and never misses a practice. Even when he was sick he was at practice getting mental reps and helping teammates,” Eddy said.

Fisher spends the majority of his time involved in football-related activities. He studies film every day and when he’s not doing that he’s lifting weights, working on his agility or throwing to his receivers.

“I appreciate the daily grind of the game. I love the workouts, I love the morning film sessions, I love everything about the game,” Fisher said.

One of Fisher’s best friends, standout receiver and go-to target, Macho Arza, also spoke about his starting signal caller’s hard work and their relationship. He talked about how they make each other better.

“I believe we have a really tight connection off the field and that helps on the field a lot. We motivate each other. We want to be the best players in the country,” Macho said.

Hard work isn’t the only thing that makes him special according to Devin Rispress, head coach of Fisher’s 7 on 7 team, the Tallahassee RecordBreakerz. Rispress said Fisher’s football acumen separates him on the field.

“I’ve coached some great players in my career, but what separates Trey is his knowledge of the game. I have to be very sharp when coaching a player with [a football IQ] as great as Trey’s. He reminds me of Drew Brees in the way he delivers the ball and the way that he’s a field general. The similarities are consistent all the way down to the height,” Rispress said.

Brees is one of Fisher’s many idols in a list that includes great players his father has coached as well as players he’s coached against. He also learns from established professionals as well as up and coming collegiate stars.

“I pattern my game after pro guys like Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Jameis [Winston] but I try to learn from the younger guys like [Deondre] Francois too,” Fisher said.

People around him said his competitive streak reaches more than just football. Macho Arza said he turns everything into a competition and that he loves winning.

“Oh no, he never stops! Trey wants to get every answer right, make the paper ball in the basket before anybody, all of that. He is the real definition of a competitor,” Macho said.

Fisher has also shown his coaches and teammates that he can be trusted in crunch-time situations. He’s led numerous comebacks for NFC and the RecordBreakerz.

“This past weekend (Feb. 21) in Myrtle Beach we were in an elimination game with six seconds to go on 3rd down. I looked at him to confirm the play and felt confident because I didn’t see any panic in him. He dropped back looked off the defense and threw a strike to Gadsden Country star receiver Sammy Carter to win the game with no time left,” Rispress said.

Workouts in the morning, afternoon and evening, a 7-on-7 practice and then an hour-long film session is a normal day for Fisher. Football is in his blood.

“The apple does not fall far from the tree. He’s a fierce competitor like his dad and he demands more of himself than me or coach Fisher,” Eddy said.

 

 

 

 

Mike Gauger Creating His Own Coaching Lane

Jacob Wicinski, Correspondent (@JacobWicinskiFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA.,  (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Lincoln High School varsity head baseball coach Mike Gauger considers himself a mix between an old-school and new-school coaching breed. 

Gauger has been coaching since he graduated from Florida Atlantic University, where he played for 2 seasons.  Gauger interned and coached at Lincoln High School, and moved on to Wakulla High School, where he coached for 15 years.

Growing up, Gauger said his family is a big reason he got into baseball. He said he followed a somewhat normal path towards getting into baseball.

“I started probably like every other kid. Just played anytime from Tee-ball on up. Baseball was a big thing in my mom’s family,” Gauger said. “I had parents that put us in the opportunities and places to do things. [My father] was always able to drive us to tournaments, all-star games, practices, wherever we had to go.”

Gauger, who graduated also from TCC, left to go to Florida Atlantic to continue playing baseball. A meeting with his guidance counselor at Florida Atlantic University helped him decide on being a coach.

“When I got to Florida Atlantic, I had to speak with guidance counselors to declare for a major,” Gauger said. “I was already a history major and the woman talking to me said ‘Well, what do you want to do?’ I said ‘Well, I like history and baseball,’ she said. ‘What do you think about teaching and coaching?”

After Gauger graduated, he took a position interning and coaching under now Lincoln Athletic Director, Joe Vallese. Here, Gauger would learn a variety of ways to coach and to teach.

“Teaching wise, a woman named Ann Atkinson, who is an amazing history teacher, and Bill Fuller, who the field is named after, taught me a lot. There also was the head coach at the time, who is now my assistant coach, Matt Robinson. So, I learned a lot. learned how to do things the right way. Matt [Robinson] and Bill [Fuller] were awesome baseball people.”

After interning, Gauger then took an assistant coaching position at Wakulla for three seasons, where he’d then become the head coach for 12 seasons. During this time as a head coach, Gauger said he learned every player is different.

“I learned that there’s not one way to do things, kids are different, kids are changing and not every kid is the same. I learned that you have to be who you are. You can’t fake it,” Gauger said.

As a coach, Gauger has been described as “crazy” and “intense”, as Lincoln’s athletic director, Joe Vallese said via a quote from the Tallahassee Democrat.

“He loves the game, knows the game, he’s intense about it. He even gets a little crazy about it,” Vallese said.

Josiah Miller and Dallen Leach, players under Gauger,  echoed those sentiments.

Miller said Gauger was “Very intense.”

Leach, a catcher and first baseman, said

“Everyday, even the smallest things, like pitcher fielding practices (PFPs), ground balls or pop-up priorities, he always is intense. If not, we’ll do 20 push ups and get back in the right minds,” Leach said.

In practice last season, Gauger would practice what was known as “The Play”, which consisted of a bases-loaded situation, with only one out.

“It was very intense. Just the way it was fast-paced because you had to be on your toes and know what was going on,” Miller said. “It was mentality preparing and physicality preparing us.”

Gauger describes himself as a somewhat old-fashioned coach, but still maintaining a newer version of teaching the game. He still does running and push-ups for punishments, as well as some unnoticeable aspects.

“I would like to think of myself as old-school, but I don’t think there’s any such thing. I don’t think that kids nowadays could play for the coaches I had, or the coaches my parents had,” Gauger said. “We run at times for punishment, we do push-ups for punishment. We’re going to take our hats off when we go inside to eat, we’re gonna match on the bus. Some of those things that some people probably don’t notice and doesn’t mean anything and maybe doesn’t matter. But they are things I like.”

 

FSU Bats get going to overcome an early 5-run deficit

Alec Chessari, Correspondent (@AlecChessariFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net)

Alex Krutchik | Franchise Sports Tallahassee
FSU got an early season victory behind dominant pitching

Through the first 11 games this season it has been mostly the pitching staff for the Seminoles but tonight the bats came through.

“You know when you play 12 games you think you have a good feeling about your ball club, but when you fall 5-runs down after four innings you kind of just look around and wonder is this bunch going to be satisfied with what they accomplished in three weeks or are they going to fight?” FSU Coach Mike Martin said.  “Well they answered that tonight and as one of the coaches of the team I am proud to be a part of it because that’s what life’s about and this ball club really showed me something tonight.”

The No.4 Florida State University Baseball (12-0) defeat the Kansas Jayhawks (8-3) 10-5 in game one of a two game series at Dick Howser Stadium.  The series was supposed to be played Tuesday and Wednesday but due to unexpected weather first pitch was tonight at 6 P.M. and game to will be played Tuesday at 6 P.M. as well.

“I thought Jonah came in and pitched extremely well. Karp struggled a little but he was right over there on the side line when he came out yelling for his ball club” Coach Martin said.

The Seminoles couldn’t get anything going through the first three innings.  Andrew Karp threw out the first pitch for the Seminoles and gave up a home run to the Jayhawks second batter James Consentino.  Karp finished his night with five innings pitched, 101 total pitches, 69 strikes, eight hits, five runs, seven strikes and a 1.56 ERA.  Jonah Scolaro came in and pitched the last four innings for the Seminoles only giving up two hits striking out six batters and got the save.

The Seminoles brought the heat in the bottom of the fifth inning batting in five runs to take their first lead. Rafael Bournigal got them going with a two run home run destroyed down the right side.  Cal Raleigh then sends one right down the center field and hits the top of the fence for the two RBI double that would tie the game in the bottom of the fifth.

Another big inning in the seventh earned the Seminoles three more runs batted in.  Steven Wells RBI single loaded the bases with no outs.  J.C. Flowers and Bournigal each Sac fly to bring in a runner home to advance the lead 9-5.  Mendoza’s late RBI single would then send Rhett Aplin home to give the Seminoles the 10-5 lead.

FSU Player Stats

Pitchers

Andrew Karp (3-0) completed 5 innings, 8 hits, 5 runs, 7 strikeouts and 2.42 ERA.

Jonah Scolaro: 2 saves, completed 4 innings, 2 hits, 6 strikeouts, 52 total pitches and 35 strikes.

Box Score

Rhett Aplin: 3 at bats, 2 hits, 2 runs, a double and .293 AVG

Cal Raleigh: 4 at bats, 2 runs, 3 hits, 2-RBI, one double and .326 AVG

Drew Mendoza: 3 at bats, one run, 2 hits, 3-RBI and .458 AVG

Rafael Bournigal: 1 at bat, 1 homerun, 3-RBI and .206 AVG

 

Franchise Sports Brief: Godby’s Boys Basketball Season

Devin Craig, Correspondent (@DevinCraigFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –

Youth can either be a blessing or a curse depending on the circumstances. In sports, especially basketball, fresh legs and young eager players make coaches salivate. But sometimes youth can come with learning curves. Acclimating young players with little experience to a faster more physical varsity game is a tedious ordeal.

Amos P. Godby head basketball coach Andrew Colville graduated five seniors, including star players Montre and Montreal Edwards along with talented Center Corbin Merritt.

Last year’s Cougars team finished the season with a 25-2 record and a state rank of nine overall. They ended their season with a heartbreaking 56-52 loss in the state championship to Ribault of Jacksonville.

This season is a completely different story. So far the Cougars have hobbled into the playoffs with a less than stellar 15-11 record. Their state ranking has also dropped from nine to 193.

But all hope isn’t lost. So far in the playoffs, they’ve crushed their first-round district playoff match-up Wakulla, 61-40. They plan to do the same next week.

Their problem doesn’t seem to stem from talent. As a matter of fact, they have that in spades. Trey Jones, a senior, is averaging 16.5 points while Tavaris Kings, a junior, is averaging 15.2 points. Senior Kamari Richardson is averaging  11 rebounds per game and the Cougars have two players that average at least two steals a game. So if offense and defense aren’t the issues, then what is it? It seems their problems primarily stem from chemistry or a lack thereof.  With a home record of 6-2, but an away record of 3-6, only assumptions can be made.

But of course young teams have their ups and downs and it seems like as they enter the postseason, they’re hitting their stride. The future seems bright for the Cougars.

Preview: Lincoln High Takes On Leon In 8-A District Championship

Dimetry Dixon, Correspondent (@DimetryDixonFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (www.FranchiseSportsOnline.Net) – The Lincoln High Trojans (16-8, 4-0 district) boys varsity basketball team will face the Leon High Lions (15-10, 2-1 district) for the 8–A district final championship on Friday at 7 p.m. at Leon High School.

Both teams are coming off of wins, with the Lions 60-53 win against Chiles Timberwolves (8-16, 0-3 district) to advance to play in the district final. The Lions eliminated chiles from the semifinals three seasons in a row. Leon high senior point guard T.J. Woolfolk led all scorers with a game-high of 16 points and seven turnovers. The senior small forward Jakari Gallon contributed 11 points, including one with 10 seconds left giving the Lions a six-point lead. He also ended the game with 15  rebounds and four blocked shots.

Leading the Timberwolves in points was Drew Burch with 11, followed by LaCorey Lavens, who finished the game with nine, all in the second half.

Leon High is also on an eight-game win streak.

During their own four-game win streak, the Trojans got a huge victory versus the Wakulla War Eagles (6-17, 1-4 District), with a score of 90-53. Coming into the conference game, Lincoln is 4-0 in district games and is in first place in their conference. The Trojans are also rank 15 in the 8-A class rankings.

Earlier this season, the two teams met on Jan.19 and Lincoln came out victorious with the final score of 75-53.  In that game, the leading scorer was Leon high small forward Gallon, ending the game with 14 points, 12 rebounds and two assists. They meet once again and this time it’s for the district championship.

The Seminoles Defeates Troy 9-4

Dimetry Dixon, Correspondent (@DimetryDixonFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The No. 5 Florida State Seminoles baseball team beat Troy 9-4 Saturday afternoon at the Dick Howser Stadium to improve to 7-0.

In the second inning, the Seminoles recorded five runs on five hits and zero errors. Austin Pollock got his first career start and threw six innings and only allowed one earned run. He ended the game with five hits allowed and six innings pitched.

Pollock talked about his experience and performance on his first career start.

“It’s a dream come true growing up coming to all of the games. It’s definitely a blessing.  I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life,” Pollack said. ”I think I threw alright today other than that homerun and other few hits but I just need to keep throwing strikes and keep the ball down.”

At the top of the second inning, Troy scored the game first points with a home run by Cole Prestegard to give the Trojans a 1-0 lead. The Seminoles answered quickly with five consecutive runs, that gave Florida State a 5-1 lead.

Florida State head coach Mike Martin talked about a key play that set up the five consecutive runs. He also talked about J.C Flowers and his performance.

“The big hit of the game was J.C Flowers,  he hit a ground ball on purpose to score a run for us. That’s a total display of a teammate and I’m very proud of how he approached that at-bat,” Martin said. ” Even though there was a mistake today,  he plays with poise and I’m proud of the progress he made.”

Flowers was the offensive leader, ending the game with two hits in three at-bats, three RBI and two doubles. With the two doubles, Flowers put the Seminoles on top 8-3. Flowers also has four doubles this season after having four all of last season as a freshman.

Flowers talked about both he and Pollack’s performance in the game.

“The main key was relaxing,  just being myself and not putting pressure on myself,” Flowers said. “He kept his composure and was in his zone.”

The Seminoles will go up against the Jacksonville Dolphins Tuesday at 5 p.m.

 

 

FSU rides big night from Cal Raleigh to 9-2 Win

Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The No. 5 Florida State Seminoles started their weekend with a 9-2 rout of the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs.

Florida State starting pitcher Cole Sands struggled early.  After allowing a leadoff walk, centerfielder Chris Troost doubled to bring home the first run of the game.

However, FSU (9-0) would get those runs right back. With 2 out and a runner on first, Cal Raleigh (3-for-4) hit a triple off the top of the right field wall to drive home Rhett Aplin. On the next at-bat, Drew Mendoza would drive home Raleigh to give the Seminoles the lead.

The ‘Noles would put up 3 more runs in the 4th. Cooper Swanson drew a walk with the bases loaded. Jackson Lueck hit a 2 RBI single to put the ‘Noles up, 5-1.

The Bulldogs’ (2-6) biggest chance to catch up to FSU came in the 5th. With a run already in, and runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 out, Cole Sands threw a wild pitch to allow Carmine Pagano to reach 3rd. Luckily, Sands (5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) struck out Brandon Lankford to get out of trouble.

Although he pitched a quality start, Sands feels he didn’t have his best stuff.

“Not a lot was working for me”, said the Tallahassee native. “It’s refreshing to just look up and even on my worst night, it’s not a huge number up there.”

The big inning for the Seminoles came in the 6th. After walking the bases loaded with 2-out, Cal Raleigh drove a ball to right center for a 3-run double. Raleigh ended the night with 4 RBI, tying a career-high.

Raleigh, who came into tonight hitting only .192, said he got some work in with his coaches this week.

“We’ve just been working on some stuff,” Raleigh said. “Some little mechanical things, they just started clicking. So hopefully it keeps working.”

Junior pitcher Cobi Johnson came in relief of Sands. Johnson recorded 6 strikeouts in 2 innings. He now has 16 strikeouts in 6 innings this year.

Freshman Tyler Ahearn pitched the last 2 innings for FSU. He gave up no runs on 1 hit in 2 innings.

The Seminoles continue their series tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Drew Parrish (1-0, 1.59 ERA) is expected to start for the ‘Noles.