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Gonzales shines as Oak Hall routs St. Francis Catholic

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By Declan Walsh
Twitter – @dawalsh_UF

On the heels of a tough seven-point loss against Evangelical Christian (Fort Myers), the Oak Hall football team bounced back in style by beating down on crosstown rivals St. Francis Catholic, 54-7.

Sophomore quarterback Cole Gonzales led the Eagles’ attack, scoring three touchdowns combining for nearly 250 yards through the air and on the ground.

Gonzales and company were complimented nicely by a strong Oak Hall defense. After giving up 36 points the week before, Oak Hall bunkered down after yielding an early score and shut down St. Francis; allowing just five first downs on the night

“We went to a five-man front,” said Oak Hall coach R.J. Fuhr in reference to his defensive adjustments.  “They were running in our A-gaps, so we went to a five-man front and we were able to control the line of scrimmage.”

Ryan Nolan had a great night on defense for the Eagles, picking off two passes and taking one back for six.

“He’s an all-around football player,”  Fuhr said about his free safety.  “I mean he has got a great, great football IQ. He is kind of our quarterback in the secondary at safety.”

The Eagles (4-2) were particularly dominant in the second quarter, outscoring St. Francis 28-0 and effectively sealing the game by halftime

It was a rough day under center for St. Francis quarterback Tyler Stone, who threw three picks on the day. However, he was able to barge in on a quarterback keeper for the Wolves’ only score on the day.

Omarion Littles and Levi West also showed early flashes on the ground for St. Francis.

The game saw a nice moment in the fourth quarter, as freshman tailback James Parker was able to get into the endzone for his first score of the year.

“Shout out to James, our tailback, James Parker,” said Fuhr.  “He is a freshman who’s never played football, so him scoring a touchdown, that’s what I love because honestly the most excitement in the whole game with our team was James scoring a touchdown because that’s what it’s all about. We preached family, and James has worked hard.”

Gonzales echoed his coach’s sentiments about family and camaraderie upon being asked about his success under center.

“It’s all in the team,” he said. “It’s always a team effort. They’ve always got my back and I’ve always got their’s.”

For Oak Hall, Coach Fuhr stressed that despite the lopsided scoreline there are improvements to be made in the tackling and pass-blocking departments before hosting a tough Bell squad next Friday.

For St. Francis, this loss is now their fourth in a row as they remain on the outside looking in for the playoffs.

The Wolves (1-5) are back in action on Friday, Oct. 11, as they travel to Tallahassee to take on St. John Paul II.

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