Radio Recap – Gainesville at Ocala Forest (Week #6)

Florida Sports TalkFriday, Sept. 29
Gainesville entered the game against the Wildcats with back-to-back shutouts following a season-opening loss at Columbia (Lake City).  Forest was coming off its first loss of the season, a key district game at Leesburg.

While GHS struggled offensively in a 19-0 win at North Marion (Citra) the previous Friday, Sept. 22, the Hurricanes (3-1) struck quickly on the road at Forest.

The ‘Canes (3-1) scored on a 70-yard TD pass from junior quarterback Luke Matthews to junior wide receiver Jalen Kelsey with 8:23 to play in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.

But in a see-saw Class 6A-District 5 game on Homecoming, the Wildcats would always seem to answer.

Senior Connor Davis, the son of former Gator kicker Judd Davis, kicked a 49-yard field goal with 4:04 to play in the opening quarter to pull the Wildcats within four at 7-3. They added to the lead on a 30-yard scoring run by senior Ekembe Cummings with 8:28 to play in the second to give Forest a 10-7 lead at the half.

Following a 48-yard FG by Davis, Matthews, the son of former Gator Shane Matthews, threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to senior Taurean Hill with 6:36 to play in the third to give the Purple Hurricanes the lead again at 14-13.

However, Davis hit number three for the game from 43 yards out with 3:00 to play in the third quarter and Forest reclaimed the lead, 16-14.

But Matthews hooked up with Kelsey again from 40 yards out with just under 10 minutes to play in the game. The 2-point conversion pass attempt was no good but GHS had a 20-16 lead.

Davis kicked a 30-yard field goal with 4:22 to play but his potential game-winning kick from 47 yards out with :32 to play sailed to the left and the visiting Hurricanes held on for a 20-19 win.

Here are some of the key stats from the game:

• GHS QB Luke Matthews threw for 356 yards and three TDs
• GHS WR Jalen Kelsey caught 16 passes for 257 yards and two TDs
• Forest K Connor Davis went 4-for-5 with field goals of 49, 48, 43 and 30 yards

It was a tough loss for Forest, which dropped to 0-2 in league play and still has unbeaten Vanguard in late October. For the ‘Canes, it sets up a battle for first-place in the district on Friday, October 13, when GHS hosts Vanguard.

NEXT RADIO BROADCAST: Newberry at Trenton
WHEN: Friday, October 6, 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 were in Class 1A last season but Newberry jumped up to 3A this year, while Trenton was moved up to 4A because of FHSAA infractions. Despite the move, both teams have legitimate chances to make the postseason in the FHSAA’s new playoff format.

Newberry is coming off a 28-15 loss against Union County. The Panthers (2-3) are still in position to earn one of the four playoff spots in 3A-Region 1. However, another loss leaves them little margin for error.

Trenton (3-1) ran all over Bronson in a 74-8 win. The Tigers (3-1), who finished with 370 yards rushing, are trying to keep pace with Dunnellon and Bradford (Starke), who are tied for first with 4-1 records in 4A-Region 2.