All posts by Max Fay

Florida State vs Florida Pregame

Jordan Giorgio, Correspondent (@JordanGiorgioFS)

Tallahassee, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – Of course this is one of the greatest rivalries in college football and as always there is a lot on the line in this game.

The Noles are trying to position themselves for a New Years Six Bowl, and a win tonight over the 15th ranked team in the nation would certainly bolster their resume.

The Gators can propel themselves into the playoff discussion with a win tonight. They are already headed to the SEC Championship game regardless where they will face the No. 1 team in the land Alabama. If they run the table, the playoff selection committee will have a tough decision to make.

The Raiders Come From Behind To Get Playoff Win

Alec Chessari, Correspondent (@AlecChessariFS

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.

Notable Stats

Offense:

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

Defense:

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

Dalvin Cook and Jimbo Fisher Locker Room Speech Following Win at USF

Dalvin Cook and Jimbo Fisher vent their frustrations in the locker room following Florida State’s 55-35 victory at South Florida. Cook, who rushed for a career high 267 yards and two touchdowns, played until the very end of the game even after FSU was guaranteed the win.

In this clip released by Showtime from their series “A Season With Florida State Football”, Cook calls on his teammates to not settle for the win. Head coach Jimbo Fisher chimes in telling his team that they let up. It is a message that could be valuable in the weeks to come as the Seminoles hosts UNC, who are ranked 23rd in the Coaches’ Poll, then travel down to No. 14 Miami the following week.

The Showtime series airs Tuesday nights at 10pm.

5 Takeaways From Louisville

Derwin’s Loss Larger Than Expected

After the 63-20 loss to Louisville, the impact of Derwin James’s knee injury is massive. It was obviously a huge loss, but Nate Andrews return from injury was supposed to soften the blow. It certainly did not.

The Seminoles missed the type of player James is– a ball-hawking, hard-hitting, assured presence. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson ran wild on Saturday and no one on the Noles defense could match his speed and agility. James, whose 91 tackles were second most on the team a year ago, might have matched Jackson’s athleticism.

DeMarcus Walker burst into 2016 with 4.5 sacks against Ole Miss, but has zero since. Josh Sweat has only three tackles through three games and only one for a loss. James will be out indefinitely as the cartilage in his knee heals, and if the secondary is going to hold up in the mean time, the defensive line needs to get to the quarterback.


Louisville Is A Lot Better Than Anticipated

Yes, Louisville came in as the No. 10 team in the country, but routing the likes of Charlotte and Syracuse didn’t build a lot of credit with the Seminoles. They were “untested.” Florida State had already survived its “test” against Ole Miss and assumed the No. 2 ranking in the country.

Louisville wouldn’t be able to do the Seminoles what they did in their first two games. Not against an elite defense. They did.

Louisville put up 63 points against FSU accumulating 530 yards of total offense. Lamar Jackson was by far the best player on the field running 17 times for 146 yards and four touchdowns, while throwing for another 216 yards. Jackson upped his rushing total to 464 yards through three games, second most in the country.

Their defense was physical and punishing. The Cardinals sacked FSU QB Deondre Francois five times and held the Seminoles to only 284 yards of offense.


Offensive Line Needs To Get Better

Only seven teams have given up more sacks than Florida State (11) to begin the year. That is a staggering statistic.

This was a unit that should have gotten better in the last year. They returned everyone but Chad Mavety and somehow they seemed to have regressed. Granted they have been a little banged up to start the season, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for perhaps the deepest unit for Florida State. They carry 19 offensive linemen on scholarship.

They have also struggled to open holes for the running game. Dalvin Cook has no room to operate, gaining just 228 yards on the ground thus far. The line needs to win their individuals battles and start to push the defensive line backwards.


Where Is The Competitive Fire?

Florida State has trailed by double digits at halftime in three of their last four games dating back to last year’s 38-24 loss to Houston in the Peach Bowl.

Halftime deficit in those three games:

3-21 vs Houston

13-28 vs Ole Miss

10-35 vs Louisville

Ole Miss turned the ball over in consecutive possessions to start the second half, allowing FSU to climb back into the game, but the other games went in the opposite direction.

FSU looked beat against Louisville in the third quarter. They didn’t play for pride. They didn’t compete. The Cardinals hung another 28 points on them in the second half, including two 60-yard punt returns.


How Does FSU Get Back Into The Title Hunt?

It will be a long road back into playoff contention, but the loss is early enough in the season for Florida State to come back.

Step 1: Run the table

Another loss would surely eliminate Florida State from contention. They need to win out, simple as that.

Step 2: Win the ACC

The Seminoles put themselves in a big hole, but they are not out of contention for the ACC title. However, the three best teams in the conference are in the same division, and only one of them can make it to the ACC championship game.

Louisville now controls the Atlantic Division and plays a relatively easy conference schedule. After their showdown with No. 5 Clemson Oct. 1, they have conference games against Duke, NC State, Virginia, Boston College, and Wake Forrest remaining.

Clemson has yet to play a conference game. Their first test will be this Thursday night on the road against Georgia Tech at 7:30.

Step 3: Get Some Help

Florida State will need some help. First they  need Clemson to beat Louisville to have a chance to win the ACC. It looks like three of the four playoff teams will be the winner of the SEC, Big Ten, and ACC. The fourth may be the winner of the PAC 12 or Big 12.

There is a danger an undefeated Houston could sneak in over a one-loss Florida State. Ironically, FSU may need Louisville’s help. The Cardinals go on the road for a Thursday night matchup against No. 6 Houston Nov. 17.

Step 4: Impress The Committee

The Seminoles still have plenty of opportunities to impress the committee. Unlike past seasons, the Noles’ schedule will play to their advantage.

With games against USF, North Carolina, No. 15 Miami, No. 5 Clemson and No. 19 Florida still to come, Florida State could vault its way back through the rankings.

Florida State Home Opener Preview

Jordan Giorgio, Correspondent

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – Florida State welcomes Charleston Southern for the 2016 home opener at Doak Campbell Stadium.

FSU is coming off the largest comeback in school history after defeating Ole Miss 35-44 in their first game of the season.

Charleston Southern took 4-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State to overtime before falling 24-17 in their season opener last week.

Wakulla Takes Control Of District 5A-2

By: Max Fay

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – The Thursday night matchup between Godby and Wakulla featured the two best teams in one of the best districts in the state. Godby, the 2014 state runner-up, welcomed Wakulla, a team loaded with next level talent to Cox Stadium for a district showdown with playoff implications.

Wakulla jumped out to a 6-0 lead after their first possession and kept the game just out of Godby’s reach for a 15-6 victory.

“It was definitely a team effort,” Wakulla quarterback Feleipe Franks said. “The whole team worked together to get the ‘W’. We didn’t come out here to put up exciting numbers. We knew it was going to be a battle from the start.”

The War Eagles (5-1, 1-0) began the game with a 12-play 65-yard drive that ended with a Monterious Loggins one-yard dive into the end zone. Then the Wakulla defense took over.

Godby (2-3, 0-1) didn’t make it inside the War Eagle 40-yard line until the last drive of the game. Cougar quarterback Darius Bradwell scrambled for a 10-yard touchdown with 3:25 left to play, but Godby failed both the two-point conversion and the onside kick allowing Wakulla to run out the clock.

“Our defense played very well tonight,” Wakulla head coach Barry Klees said. “I was very excited for them. Keith Gavin played great on that side of the ball. I don’t think they wanted to see much of him there at the end.”

The up-tempo Godby offense came into the game with a vaunted rushing attack averaging over 300 yards a game. Wakulla was able to hold the Cougars to just 163 yards on the ground and even outgained them with 194 rushing yards of their own.

Wide receiver/safety Gavin set the tone for Wakulla’s defense with a couple vicious hits in the first half.

“That’s what Keith Gavin does,” Franks said of the 4-star recruit considering offers from Alabama and Florida State. “He lays the wood on everybody, and he’s not scared of anyone. Big time players make big time plays in big time games, and Keith is just one of those players.”

Wakulla went up 12-0 after halftime, when a Justin Davis interception led to a 19-yard touchdown run by Demarcus Lindsey. Lindsey carried the ball 12 times for 68 yards.

Franks didn’t have his best offensive showing behind center, but the LSU commit also plays kicker/punter for the War Eagles and nailed a 51-yard field goal to give Wakulla a 15-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The win gives Wakulla a leg up on both Godby and Rickards in district 5A-2.

“It takes a little pressure off our shoulders,” Franks said. “We’re still going to take it game by game and day by day. We have a bye week this week, and then we’ll practice our butts off to get ready for another district game against Rickards.”

Godby moves on to face Trinity Christian Academy at Cox Stadium next Friday.