The White team used a trio of big plays and held off a furious comeback from the Green squad to win the Stetson Hatters spring football game on Friday afternoon at the Athletics Training Center.
The White team’s 30-22 victory avenged a loss in the fall Homecoming scrimmage.
Hatters head coach Roger Hughes said the team showed that it has improved, but also showed there is work to do.
“We turned the ball over too many times,” Hughes said. “You can’t do that and win games, especially when you’re undersized and a little under experienced. Over that, I’m pleased with the effort. The guys kept fighting until the end and they were having fun out there.
“The other thing is the turnout. That fan support has been unwavering.”
Led by quarterback Ryan Tentler, who ran for a 75-yard tournament on the first play of the game, the White team earned the win in the fourth quarter. Tentler hooked up with Kegan Moore for a 53-yard TD pass with 6:59 to play to put the White team up 23-22.
After getting the ball back with less than a minute left with a chance to run out the clock, the White team put icing on the cake when Meyrick Lamb ripped off a 65-yard touchdown run.
Those late big plays dashed a second half comeback by the Green team, which was down 16-0 at halftime but knotted the game at 16-all with a pair of third quarter touchdowns, both on quarterback runs. Jonathan Jerozal scored on a 20-yard run with 6:32 left in the third and then Alex Marsh scored on a seven-yard run with 2:19 to play in the quarter.
Both touchdowns were followed by two-point conversion passes to Eric Fitzgerald.
The Green team pushed into the lead early in the fourth quarter when Fitzgerald hauled in a one-yard TD pass from Marsh. The Green’s try to two failed there, leaving the lead at 22-16.
Individual offensive standouts for the White team included Lamb, who rushed for 135 yards on 13 carries. Tentler added 79 rushing yards on just four carries as the White team piled up 226 total rushing yards.
Tentler led the passing attack by completing 7-of-10 passes for 115 yards and a score. Nick LaSala also connected on 7-of-10 passes for 106 yards, including a nine-yard scoring strike to Antonio Arroyo. Justin Slaven hit on 8-of-15 passes for 60 yards. The White team passed for 281 yards in the game.
The leading rusher for the Green team was Jerozal with 50 yards on 12 carries. The Green team only managed to rush for 151 yards on 47 carries in the game. Jerozal was also the leading passer for the Green team, hitting on 11-of-22 passes for 176 yards. He was also intercepted once.
Marsh completed 4-of-10 pass attempts for 96 yards and a score while Ian Leggett was 2-of-5 for 40 yards.
Defensively, the White team was led by Davion Belk with six tackles, including one and a half sacks, and Jake Paine with five tackles, two for loss, and a pass breakup. Overall, the White team defense had three sacks and 12 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Sean Hensley led the Green team with eight tackles, including one for loss, while Donald Payne and Bobby Jakubek had seven each. Payne forced a fumble and had a pass breakup while Jakubek had a tackle for loss and a pass break up.
With spring practice mostly in the books – the team will have one session after spring break – the Hatters can now turn their full attention toward opening the 2013 season.
“We now become one team again,” Hughes said. “We’ve been playing against each other and beating on each other, and now it’s really a chance to come together with one common opponent.”
In the six months left before Stetson football officially returns, the Hatters will focus on the things that will help make the team a success.
“We’re not as strong as we need to be and you can’t stop emphasizing the fundamentals,” Hughes said. “You still have to tackle, you have to be in the right gaps and, offensively, you have to hold onto the football. This film is going to be a real teaching tool for them to reemphasize the importance of these things.”