Park Vista 21, Seminole Ridge 7: Cobras spoil Hawks' first game of season
Friday, September 07, 2012
by Jeff Greer
All the chatter leading into Park Vista’s road showdown with Seminole Ridge revolved around Ridge.
How would the state-ranked Hawks respond to their week off after Tropical Storm Isaac washed away their first week of the season, especially against their former district rival Vista?
But Vista made the most of its extra week of practice and game experience in a sloppy but well-deserved 21-7 win Friday night.
“I feel for those guys,” said Park Vista coach Brian Dodds. “Missing all that time, with what they do, is tough.”
Dodds’ defense defined tough Friday. Vista (2-0) intercepted three passes and held Ridge’s run-heavy offense every time it mattered.
Two of those interceptions resulted in points, with Marques Gayot’s 64-yard return setting up Vista’s go-ahead score before halftime and Dalton Barkman’s 50-yard interception return for a touchdown putting the game out of reach in the third quarter.
Linebacker Heath Koji was disruptive all night, too, twice sacking Ridge quarterback Zach DeCosta and racking up a handful of tackles.
“It was a game of big plays,” Dodds said. “In the second half, our defense really stepped up and played well.”
Qwad Martin’s 45-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Smith was one of only five Vista offensive plays to go for more than 10 yards, but it reversed the momentum of the game, tying the score at 7.
Vista ran seven different ball carriers. None surpassed 25 yards rushing.
Martin was 5-of-13 for 71 yards with three interceptions, appearing rusty on all but a few throws. But two of them went for touchdowns.
“He made the plays when it mattered,” Dodds said of his quarterback. “Even when he’s not at his best, he still made plays.”
It was a rude awakening for Ridge (0-1), which began the season ranked fourth in the Post’s Top 10 poll. The Hawks committed eight penalties, mostly in the first half, and lost momentum on Smith’s touchdown, which came only after a botched attempt at an interception by a Ridge defensive back.
Silas Spearman was deceptive and dangerous running the ball for Ridge, carrying 13 times for 69 yards and the Hawks’ only touchdown, but the passing game’s struggles made it tough for Ridge to run. EJ Elien’s 33-yard scamper put Ridge into Vista territory early in the third quarter, but that drive stalled.
DeCosta, a junior thrust into starting duties after expected starter Antwan Washington transferred to Glades Central in the offseason, struggled in his debut. He was 2-of-16 for 23 yards and three interceptions, though his would-be receivers dropped numerous good passes.
“We’ll get better,” Ridge coach Matt Dickmann said. “Offensively we made too many mistakes. It’s just getting reps. You have to be out on the field. You have to get that timing down. We’re not there yet.”