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.

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. 

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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. 

Wakulla tops Leon in a blowout

Sean Bin, Correspondent (@SeanBinFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Wakulla War Eagles secured a win against the Leon Lions with a  44-7 blowout on a Thursday night at Gene Cox Stadium.

Wakulla (4-2) received the ball first but sophomore quarterback Jaylon Worsham threw an interception on the War Eagles’ opening drive.

Wakulla started their second drive on their own 8-yard line after a Leon (0-5) punt.  The War Eagles found the end zone, thanks to a 26-yard jet sweep play on a fourth down by Chris Beverly, a senior wingback.

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It didn’t take long for Wakulla to find the end zone for the second time after another Leon punt. A 60-yard touchdown pass from Worsham to Jordan Bolden, a sophomore running back gave Wakulla a 14-point lead. Wakulla was able to score one more touchdown before the end of first quarter, on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Worsham to Cephus Greene, a senior running back.

Leon’s next drive was ended on an interception thrown by senior quarterback John Carey. Wakulla scored another touchdown with a 9-yard run by Worsham. Leon got an interception from senior cornerback Raequon Greene, but couldn’t turn it into any points.

Wakulla’s offense kept on putting points on the board, with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Worsham to Hezekiah Gross, a senior running back. Wakulla snagged another touchdown before the end of first half with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Worsham to Greene.

“The holes were opening and teammates were getting open so I was able to complete the passes. The O-Line was blocking as well,” Worsham said after 4 touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown.

The third quarter began with a 62-yard kickoff return by Queze Brutton, a senior kick returner for Leon. Leon scored their first touchdown of the game with a 2-yard run by Josh Johnson, a senior running back.

Wakulla started their back-ups for the rest of the game but they still managed to put points on the board. A 34-yard field goal by Hunter Busen, a junior kicker, increased the lead to 37 points.

 “I stayed focused, believed in my quarterback, line, and just made plays like I always do,” Greene said. 

“We came out really well. We had a rough game last week. We came out tonight very focused,” Wakulla head coach Barry Klees said. “Offensively, we threw the ball really well, spread them out and the defense was really physical. Special teams were great also so it was a good overall game tonight.” 

Lincoln Falls Short to Trinity Christian, 35-21

Ashley Van Slyck, Correspondent (@AVanSlyckFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Lincoln high school football team threw an interception on the opening drive of the game, setting the tone for their loss to Trinity Christian, 35-21, Friday night at Gene Cox Stadium.

On the second drive of the game, Conquerors’ (5-2, District 2-0) quarterback Winston Sweeting ran 15 yards into the end zone, giving them a 7-0 lead. The Trojans (4-3, District 2-0) responded with a quick drive into their end zone through a 34-yard pass from quarterback Chris Beard to wide receiver Derek Curry,  tying the game with 8:36 remaining in the first quarter.

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The rest of the first quarter brought a muffed punt and long drives for each team that resulted in no points. The first quarter ended with the game still a tied 7-7.

The second quarter opened with a 24-yard touchdown run by Trinity Christian’s Marcus Crowley, giving them a 14-7 lead. Beard responded with a two-yard touchdown pass to Kamari Morales with 4:16 remaining in the half to tie the score 14-14.

The Trojans forced a fumble on Trinity Christian’s next possession but came away with no points. Lincoln head coach Quinn Gray said the team needs to capitalize on those opportunities.

“We have to work harder in practice. Everything that has happened to us thus far this season has been somewhat a mistake we’ve seen in practice,” Gray said. “Until we understand that practice translates to the field were going continue to make the mistakes that were making out here on the game field. So we’re going to go back to the drawing board on Monday and we’re going to correct those mistakes.”

The first half ended a tie game, 14-14.

Trinity Christian opened the second half with a touchdown, again giving them the lead 21-14. Lincoln’s first drive of the second half began with a 15-yard pass to Caleb Matthews. Then, two penalties against Trinity Christian; face mask and encroachment. The Trojans were unable to complete the drive for a touchdown when a poor snap on third down forced them to turn the ball over.

Lincoln completed a 42-yard touchdown pass to Stanton Johnson to tie the game 21-21 after a stalled Conquerors’ drive.

Trinity Christian responded with a touchdown, bringing the score to 28-21. The Conquerors blocked the Trojan’s punt on their next drive 10.5 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

With 5:38 remaining in the fourth, Crowley scored a touchdown from one yard out, increasing Trinity Christian’s lead 35-21.

The game ended when the Lincoln Trojan’s threw for an interception, giving Trinity Christian the opportunity to run the clock out.

“Everything that we get, we’re going to earn. That’s from winning to playing time and everything,” Gray said. “If you’re going to play here at Lincoln, it’s going to be earned on the practice field and in the classroom. Bottom line.”

NFC drops first game of the season to Florida High

Rebecca Sweeney, Correspondent

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Florida State High School football team played North Florida Christian in hopes of adding another win to their 3-2 season. The Seminoles ended up with a 28-18 victory.

The first quarter started off strong for the Seminoles with their first touchdown of the night with 10:18 left on the clock. After making the field goal they led 7-0. There were no other scores in the quarter. 

Florida high scored a touchdown with 11:51 on the clock, making the score at 14-0. NFC scored their first touchdown of the night with 1:05 on the clock, making the score 14-6. Florida High scored another touchdown with 29 seconds left in the half, increasing their lead to 21-6 until the end of the first half.

The Eagles fought back in the third quarter with Florida High only scoring one touchdown to put the score at 28-6. NFC’s Jonathan Railey scored the team’s second touchdown of the night, making the score at 28-12.

Near the end of the fourth quarter, NFC scored their final touchdown of the night. The loss put an end to North Florida Christian’s Undefeated season.

“I thought we did a good job of coming out and setting the tone early. We did a really good job, of making plays early. It is a really good football team we played tonight and we got a good win,” Florida High head coach Jarrod Hickman said.

 Florida High is now 4-2 this season with 4 more games left in the season. The Seminoles will take on the Wakulla War Eagles next week.

 “Get better,” Hickman said. “We have to clean up some of our things because they are a really good football team. They can run it and throw it and their coach is a really good coach.”

Noles to Host Hurricanes

Alec Chessari, Correspondent (@AlecChessariFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Miami Hurricanes will be making their way to Doak Campbell Stadium as they get ready for the Florida State Seminoles at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The Seminoles (1-2, 1-1 ACC) are heading into this week’s matchup against the Hurricanes (3-0, 1-0) unranked for the first time in more than five years under head coach Jimbo Fisher. The Seminoles have beaten the Hurricanes the past seven years. Miami is still leading the all-time series 31-30.

Last year’s matchup ended with the Seminoles blocking the Hurricanes PAT to win 20-19. Also, the Seminoles had Dalvin Cook in the backfield, who carried the ball 27 times for 150 yards. This year’s matchup will feature true freshman quarterback James Blackman under the center for FSU.

Last Saturday, Blackman and the Seminoles traveled to Wake Forrest for an in-conference game. Blackman accounted for 121 yards while completing 11 of 21 passes and a touchdown.

Miami played an away conference game against Duke last Friday and won 31-6. The Hurricanes defense did not allow a touchdown the entire game. Miami’s quarterback Malik Rosier accounted for 270 yards while completing 15 of 26 passes for two touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.

Some key players for the Florida State Seminoles are:

Derwin James (Defensive Back)

James was sidelined due to an injury last season which forced him to watch the game from a different perspective. This year he is healthy and will be a key factor for the Seminoles to win the game. James has 18 total tackles, 12 solo tackles and six assisted tackles.  

James Blackman (Quarterback)

Blackman is a true freshman starting for the Seminoles after an injury sidelined Deondre Francios for the season. Blackman has completed 33 of his 59 passes so far for the Seminoles, racking up 399-yards and two touchdowns.

Auden Tate (Wide Receiver)

Tate is a 6-foot-5-inches target that can go up and get the ball. Tate has 13 catches for 226 yards and three touchdowns this season, including the game-winning touchdown against Wake Forest last week.

Some key players for the Miami Hurricanes entering this game:

Malik Rosier (Quarterback)

Rosier is a junior for the Hurricanes and has completed 59 of 90 attempts for 820 yards and eight touchdowns in three games this season. Rosier has the patience to stay in the pocket and also the legs to keep the chains moving.

Ahmmon Richards (Wide Receiver)

Richards is a sophomore and although he hasn’t started the season like he did last year he will be a key player for Rosier in this matchup against the Seminoles. He has three catches for 109 yards and one touchdown.

Shaquille Quarterman (Linebacker)

Quarterman was ranked as one of the top linebackers in the ACC last season as a freshman. This season he has accounted for 21 tackles, 13 solo tackles and eight assisted.