All posts by Royal A. Shepherd

Royal is the Production Director for Franchise Sports and the Content Writer for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. He grew up in Pompano Beach, Fla and is a lifelong Miami Heat, Kansas City Royals (for obvious reasons), Miami Marlins, University of Miami football and Green Bay Packers fan. He is a former staff writer for the Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, Ga. and the Tallahassee Democrat daily newspapers. He encourages interaction with his readers via twitter (@RoyalShepherdFS) and Instagram (same handle). Father of one.

FSU Soccer Notebook

Ashley Van Slyck, Correspondent (@AVanSlyckFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida State Seminoles women’s soccer team head into game number 15 this season against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at The Seminole Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19 for an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup.

 

The Seminoles (10-4, 4-3) and the Fighting Irish (7-5-3, 3-3-1) last faced each other in 2016 at Alumni Stadium where Florida State defeated the Irish 1-0. This season, the game will be a close matchup with Notre Dame scoring a total of 29 goals this season and the Seminoles totaling 28 goals.

 

However, Florida State has dominated their previous opponents this season, averaging 16 first-half goals, compared to opponents total of five first-half goals. Notre Dame has gone into halftime tied nine times this season, forcing them to fight for their wins in the second half.

The Seminoles and Fighting Irish both have similar average shots per game. FSU averages 15.6 shots per game while Notre Dame attempts 15.9 shots per game. The Florida State defense doesn’t allow as many shots on goal as the Irish. Seminole opponents average 7.4 shots per game, Notre Dame opponents average 10.5 shots per game.

Seminoles forward, Deyna Castellanos, has had an outstanding season, more than doubling the goals scored by the Florida State’s next highest scoring player, with 12 goals this season.

 

Florida State goalie Cassie Miller will be another key factor in the upcoming matchup. This season Miller has made 35 saves and only allowed 11 goals total by Seminole opponents.

All-time the Seminoles have gone 5-3 against Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish, but this season the Fighting Irish have gone 2-0-1 on the road.

Florida State will face the Pittsburgh Panthers on Oct. 22  in the Seminole Soccer Complex.

 

Sports Brief: FAMU vs. Hampton

Devin Craig, Correspondent

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Today, FAMU (2-5) will travel to Hampton, Va. to play conference rival Hampton University (4-2). 4 p.m.

FAMU is coming off a heart-wrenching homecoming lost to North Carolina A&T and Hampton is riding high on top of a two-game win streak over Norfolk State and Savannah State.

FAMU’s passing attack will be tested early and often against Hampton’s suffocating secondary. The Pirates defense boasts a staggering 170 yards allowed through the air per game. This may trouble FAMU who averages, the majority of their yards through the air, with 190 per game.

Through six games, Hampton’s defense has given up 3,162 yards on the ground, which may serve as something FAMU can exploit in the game.

On the flip side, FAMU’s Achilles heel is their lackluster rush defense who has given up 1,230 yards. Opponents average155 yards per game on the ground against the Rattlers.

 

Sports Brief: FSU Soccer

Sean Bin, Correspondent (@SeanBinFS on Twitter)

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

The Florida State women’s soccer team is  10-3-0 two months into their 2017-18 season. The team started the season strong with three straight wins before losing to Alabama by a goal. With the other two losses coming from Duke and North Carolina, the team is looking to have another solid season.

The spotlight is on sophomore forward Deyna Castellanos. Through 13 games, she has11 goals and two assists. Castellanos is also a candidate for FIFA goal of the year. She played for the Venezuelan national U-17 women’s soccer team in Jordan, scored seven goals last season (team-high), and scoring a game-winning goal against Miami.

The team’s next game is against Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Thursday, Oct.19 in Tallahassee. You can watch the game live at the Seminole Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. The team has two more games to conclude this month against Pittsburgh Panthers and Clemson Tigers. The game against Pittsburgh is on Sunday at 1 p.m. at home while the Clemson game is away on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.

Sports Brief: Godby vs. Pine Forest

Rebecca Sweeney, Correspondent

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –The Godby High School Cougars will go head to head with The Pine Forest Eagles Friday in Pensacola at 7:00 p.m.

The Cougars (7-0) have had an undefeated season so far and played Rickards High School (5-1) last week giving the Raiders their first loss. Godby won 21-6.

The Pine Forest Eagles have gone 3-3 this season after winning their last game against Booker T. Washington High School (2-5) with a final score of 21-13.

As a team, Godby has 141 receiving yards and 148 rushing yards as well as 25 touchdowns this season putting the Cougars above the national average in almost all. Pine Forest has a team total of 126 receiving yards and 196 rushing yards as well as 75 total tackles.

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.”

Sports Brief: JV coach trying to help build young men

Renita Woodard-Barkley, Correspondent

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –Coach Adolph Toussaint is no stranger to public school football programs. He was the head football coach at Raa Middle School for five years. 

He left Raa and landed at Leon High in 2010 as an assistant JV coach. He moved into the JV head coaching role for five years then back to a JV assistant coach. 

Royal A. Shepherd | Franchise Sports Tallahassee
Coach Adolph Toussaint

Toussaint said his standards have never changed in all of his years of coaching. 

“I expect what is expected every year- greatness in the classroom, on the field and in the community, in that order.”

He said his goal is to mold and mentor these young men while in his care to make sure the greatness is instilled in them. Toussaint chose Leon because of their tradition and being one of the oldest high schools in the state of Florida.

“The opportunity presented itself and it was too great to pass up.”

Fisher is still optimistic as Game 5 approaches

Brianna Biancardi, Correspondent (@BriBiancardiFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) –The Florida State-Miami rivalry continued last Saturday at Doak
Campbell Stadium, as the two teams squared off for the 62nd time.

The Miami Hurricanes (4-0, 1-0 in the American Coast Conference) trailed by three points in the fourth quarter, but the Seminoles (1-3, 1-2 in the American Coast Conference) were unable to hang
on for the win.

With only six seconds remaining in the game, the Hurricanes’ redshirt junior QB Malik Rosier threw a
23-yard touchdown pass to redshirt junior WR Darrell Langham to put an end to Florida State’s seven-game winning streak against the Hurricanes.

“It was a great physical football game,” Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Unfortunately, they made one more play than we did.”

After scoring three touchdowns in the final quarter, the Hurricanes came out victorious, defeating the Seminoles 24-20.

“Miami is a good team,” Fisher continued. “I give them credit, but at the same time we had opportunities and we just have to do things a little bit better.”

The Seminoles continue their ACC season on Saturday, as they head North to take on Duke (4-2, 1-2 in the American Coast Conference) at Wallace Wade Stadium at noon

Duke enters the game having lost back-to-back games and two of their three in-conference matchups. Despite their record, the Blue Devils rushing defense ranks seventh in the NCAA.

“They are a good football team,” Fisher said. “They are right on the verge of winning all of their games defensively.”

Meanwhile, the Seminoles have increased their rushing totals with each game, posting 203 yards in last Saturday’s contest. Going into this weekend’s matchup, Fisher hopes to lead his team to
victory after their 1-3 start to the season.

“It’s about us,” Fisher said. “We’re all in this together.”
Things to know about this game:

● James Blackman became the first true freshman starting quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles. Blackman has completed 50 of his 87 passes so far this season for the
Seminoles, leading to 602 yards and four touchdowns. He completed 60.7 percent of his passes in last week’s game, which was a career-high for the young quarterback.
● It is not often that these two teams face one another, but the Seminoles have won all 17 of their previous matchups against the Blue Devils.
● Most famously, in 2013, Florida State defeated Duke 45-7 in the ACC Championship game thanks to three touchdown passes from Jameis Winston.

FAMU Football Update

Ashley Van Slyck, Correspondent (@AVanSlyckFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida A&M University Rattlers football team began their season with a win over Texas Southern, 29-7, but have struggled to secure many wins since.

With an average score of 18.5 points per game, the Rattlers hold a 2-4 Overall record and a 1-2 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference record. They defeated Texas Southern and Savannah State. Last season, FAMU held its best record since 2012, ending the season 4-7.

Quarterback Ryan Stanley has completed 103 of his 161 passing attempts this season, averaging 212.8 passing yards per game. Running back Devin Bowers leads the team in rushing, averaging 68.3 yards per game on the ground.

In the Rattlers upcoming game, they will face the North Carolina A&T Aggies for their homecoming game in Bragg Memorial Stadium on Saturday, kickoff at 3 p.m.

Florida High to host Wakulla

Dimetry Dixon, Correspondent (@DimetryDixonFS on Twitter)

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

The Florida State High School Seminoles football team will take on the Wakulla War Eagles Friday at Florida High stadium at 7:30 p.m.

Both teams are coming off wins from last week. The Seminoles (4-2) took on North Florida Christian (5-1)  and gave them their first loss of the season. Florida high won 28-18. Wakulla (5-2) took on

Wakulla (5-2) took on Leon (0-6) and won by a score of 44-7. Both teams have played well on offense, with sophomore quarterback
Bryson Hill leading the Seminoles. Last week, he had 13
completions on 19 attempts for 269 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. Senior Kevin Sawyer Jr. had 10 carries for 96 rushing yards. He also contributed catching the ball, with four catches for 37 yards.

Leading the Eagles offense, sophomore quarterback Jaylan Worsham had 13 completions on 21 attempts for 249 passing yards and four touchdowns last week.  Senior wide receiver Cephus Greene hauled in four catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns.