Radio Recap – Trinity Catholic (Ocala) at Belleview (Week #1)
Friday, Aug. 25 (Click here to listen to the archived broadcast)
We opened up our high school football radio coverage (complete schedule) on Florida Sports Talk with a Marion County showdown between teams who made the postseason last year in their respective classes.
This was supposed to be a game between former Trinity Catholic football coach John Brantley and his former school. Brantley helped lead the Celtics to its second state title in 2010 and finished his career at Trinity Catholic with an overall record of 67-20. They were district champions every year, going 26-0 in league play — a Marion County record.
Brantley took the head coaching job at Belleview last year and helped lead the Rattlers to their first state playoff game in 10 years. However, Brantley stepped down as head coach in the spring.
Mike Kelly took over for John Brantley as head coach at Belleview, and while his debut was marred by mistakes on Friday night, the Class 5A Rattlers made enough big plays to come away with a 19-5 win against the 3A Celtics. Despite the fact that the Celtics had more turnovers than points, Belleview kept the visitors in the game with 16 penalties.
However, Belleview (1-0) made three big plays that turned the game.
- Junior running back John Heflin’s 57-yard TD run with 10:36 to play in the second quarter gave the Rattlers an early 6-0 lead (Trinity Catholic’s Robert Rhem blocked the extra point). The score proved to be the winning points.
- Later in the second quarter, junior quarterback Corey Wilsher’s 79-yard TD pass, which was caught in stride by senior Malik Johnson, gave the Rattlers a 13-0 lead with 5:04 to play in the second quarter.
- Kelly is a ‘defensive guy’ so he had to be pleased that his team kept the Celtics out of the end zone all night. The biggest defensive play likely came in the third quarter when the Celtics took advantage of a short field and drove inside the 10-yard line down 13-2. They picked up a first-and-goal at the five, but on the next play the Celtics fumbled and senior Daquan Lee recovered.
Trinity Catholic also had a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown called back because of penalty. So, the Celtics (0-1) certainly had their chances.
With the FHSAA’s new playoff format this season, this was a good early season test in Marion County. It was an opportunity to get a good quality win that could mean something by season’s end. But even in defeat, every game counts.
Both teams were playoff teams a season ago. Meanwhile the Celtics advanced to the Class 3A state playoffs, which marked their 14th straight appearance in the postseason.
NEXT RADIO BROADCAST: Class 1A Madison County at Class 3A Newberry
WHEN: Friday, September 1 at 7:30 p.m. (Pregame coverage at 7 p.m.)
WHERE: 92.1 FM & 1230 AM in Gainesville and 100.1 FM & 900 AM in Ocala
Both teams will enter the game with 1-0 records after season-opening wins. The Panthers defeated Santa Fe (Alachua), 45-13, while Madison County edged Class 5A Wakulla (Crawfordville), 28-27.
This could have been a state semifinal match-up in last year’s 1A state playoffs but Newberry lost in the opening round to eventual state champion Pahokee, 35-34 in overtime, while Madison County lost at Pahokee, 21-19, in the state semifinals.