Prep football | Bradenton Christian sweeps Saint Stephen's spring jamboree

jdill@bradenton.comMay 17, 2014 

BRADENTON -- One team found it can overcome adversity and make a big play when it's needed.

Another found it can move the football with an untested offensive line holding down the fort.

After both Bradenton Christian and Saint Stephen's defeated Southwest Florida Christian, the Panthers downed the host Falcons 9-7 in the final quarter of the spring jamboree Friday.

The winning score came from Peyton Spencer immediately after BCS gave up a 2-0 lead.

Falcons rising sophomore Jordon Murrell returned an interception 62 yards for a touchdown with just more than five minutes remaining to put the Falcons ahead 7-2.

Then Spencer dashed his way 99 yards to pay dirt on the ensuing kickoff to give the Panthers the final victory margin.

"Peyton is one of those young men that every time he has success, he gets a little more confident," BCS head coach Allan Gerber said. "Like so many of these kids that are in their teens, they need to feel that success in this kind of an environment in order for them to continue to evolve. And that's where he is, too. He doesn't know how gifted he is. He has no idea. He's just a happy-go-lucky kid that comes out here with his buddies. But he doesn't realize the effect he can have on a football game. And he did."

Gerber said the goal from the jamboree was to plug guys in offensively while establishing an identity to complement quarterback Joey Giardina.

"We know that our quarterback, and we're going to use him as kind of a Where's Waldo, but our quarterback is a very special talent, especially on the turf," Gerber said. "We will use him, and

he can't get enough touches. But the important thing is the rest of the group, offensively, feels the pressure of making a play so that it's not all pointed at him."

That happened with Spencer's return following the interception from Giardina, who finished a combined 2-for-8 for 24 yards and added 27 rushing yards in the two quarters.

In the previous quarter, the Panthers defeated Southwest Florida Christian 6-0.

The Falcons beat the Kings 7-0 and achieved their goal against the Panthers and Kings with an ability to move the football on offense.

"We started five offensive lineman, one who had never played a game of football before in his life," Saint Stephen's head coach Tod Creneti said. " ... We started two eighth-graders and two kids that never played football ever. ... And the offensive line kids made huge progress. We wanted to know if we could get out there and move the football. And we feel like we can, and we're excited about it."

Rising freshman Fred Billy offered a dual-threat option from the quarterback position that aided the Falcons' offensive push in both quarters.

As a runner, Billy cranked out 53 rushing yards that including a 4-yard scamper for a score against the Kings.

There were a couple penalties, including a costly one that brought back a long gain, during the Falcons' opening drive against the Panthers.

Despite that, Creneti was pleased with the effort.

"Fred is a kid that's new to school," Creneti said. "He loves to play this position. He has a great enthusiasm for the game and for his teammates and for this place. And we felt like you can't ask much more from an eighth-grader to come out here and lead you right away and make plays with your feet and still be a good, smart football player."

ST. PETERSBURG NORTHSIDE CHRISTIAN 31, OUT-OF-DOOR ACADEMY 14 -- The host Thunder kept the game close until the fourth quarter, but the Mustangs earned the 17-point victory.

However, ODA received a standout defensive effort from the entire team. Dakota Dickerson highlighted the group with two touchdowns, including an interception return for a score. Dickerson played defensive back and running back, catching a touchdown from eighth-grader Gus Mahler.

"We played well defensively," Timmons said. "We created three turnovers."

The Thunder's spring ended with the defeat, but the defensive effort gives the club confidence heading into the summer.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service