Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spring Football Adds Victories, Injuries; Orange Park, Keystone among Winners

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spring Football Adds Victories, Injuries; Orange Park, Keystone among Winners

Article excerpt

Byline: BILL JOHNSON

Quarterback Joel Fletcher ran for about 90 yards, and Brian Sumlar added nearly 70 all-purpose yards to power the Orange Park Raiders to a 42-3 spring football victory Thursday at Menendez, while running back Greg Taylor scored through the air and on the ground to lead Keystone Heights to a 14-0 win over Hawthorne.

In St. Augustine, the Raiders proved too powerful for the outmanned and turnover-plagued Falcons squad, but the off-season win almost came at a high price. Defensive end Darian Pendleton suffered a neck injury in the second quarter and had to be immobilized and taken to the hospital for what coaches called "precautionary" tests. Orange Park coaches said Pendleton did have feeling and movement in all his extremities before he was carried off the field. Raiders Athletic Director John Green said Monday that Pendleton was "all cleared" medically, but he was still in some pain.

The Raiders also had two other players go down and out during the game -- one with a sprained ankle and another with what was described as a "stinger."

"That's the thing about spring football," Orange Park Coach Ted Leasor said. "You don't get all your days in to prepare. It takes a while to get guys in shape to be out there."

The Florida High School Athletic Association allows spring football practice to begin only on the first day of May. Some teams scale down their spring games to reduce injury, such as Tuesday's Fleming Island-Ridgeview spring game, which was limited to plays from scrimmage, eliminating the increased danger of high-speed collisions during kicking plays. The Orange Park-Menendez game included kicking plays, but none of the injuries occurred on those plays.

Aside from the injuries, Leasor was pleased with his team's effort.

"It's hard to find anything to complain about in a 42-3 win," he said. "There was some poor tackling at times -- arm tackles -- but that's about it."

A 30-yard pass play from Fletcher to Jay Ising on the Raiders' first possession set the stage for a 5-yard TD run by Sumlar, giving Orange Park all the points the defense would need to win the game. …

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