Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mandarin Struggles against Columbia

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mandarin Struggles against Columbia

Article excerpt

Mandarin High School football coach Craig Howard won't blame it

on the rain.

The Mustangs' 27-7 District 2-6A loss to visiting Lake City

Columbia Friday wasn't because of the rainy weather that plagued

Jacksonville throughout the day.

"We've just got to adjust to all kind of conditions," Howard

said. "The field conditions and the weather aren't as big a

factor as the preparation of our players and the quality of our

opponent.

"They're definitely the strongest team we've played to date and

maybe one of the best football teams in America. They went to

Valdosta [on Sept. 19] and scored 21 points [and beat the

Wildcats]."

Even though Howard won't tag the loss on the weather, the rain

did affect the game. The teams sloshed to a 7-7 first-half tie.

Columbia running back Quinton Callum, who entered the game

averaging 9.4 yards per carry, struggled on the wet field for

minus yardage in the first half and finished with only 3 yards

on 12 carries.

The Mustangs offense also struggled. Harold McClendon led the

Mustangs (1-2, 1-1 in 2-6A) with 14 yards on 11 carries and the

Mustangs totaled only 11 yards on 14 carries. Quarterback Joey

Gibson completed just 12 of 26 passes for 103 yards and was

intercepted twice.

MOMENTUM KILLED -- The momentum that the Nease High School

football team had gathered in its upset of Baker County two

weeks ago dissipated Friday against District 4-5A foe

Gainesville Buchholz.

The Panthers (1-3, 0-2) managed just 103 yards of total offense

in their 22-8 loss to the Bobcats. Chris Pilinko's 1-yard run

and a two-point conversion were the only points Nease could

manage.

The Panthers offense struggled on the ground, gaining just 44

yards on 23 carries (1.9 yards per carry). James Peterson led

Nease with 37 yards on 10 carries. Quarterback Jeff Whitaker

completed only 6 of 21 passes for 59 yards and he threw one

interception -- which Buchholz's Daren Thomas returned 74 yards

for a touchdown. …

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