Homecoming Game Recap
By Chloe Goode
Coming off a tough loss against the Fleming Island Eagles, the Ponte Vedra Sharks had a lot riding on winning this game at home. While they could not finish the job, the Sharks put up one of the strongest fights the stands have seen at home. In the final minutes, the Bartram Trail Bears came up victorious winning 26-24. Nevertheless, this game was one for the books. All week long the students at PVHS had been showing off their spirit in preparation for one of the most anticipated games of the season, the homecoming game. The week consisted of disco outfits, safari day, pajama day, country club versus country, and ending on game day with the traditional class colors outfits. The game kicked off with senior defense end, Evan Fleischer singing the national anthem. Halftime consisted of golf carts carrying the home coming court to the field in preparation for the announcement of the winners Roberto and Grace. Caroline Hughes could be seen representing Ponte Vedra’s football team by wearing her jersey for homecoming court.
The scouting report for this game showed a mismatch on both sides. Both teams had a stronger defense than their offense, Bartram containing quite a few commits. Despite the outcome, it was an exciting game to watch on both sides of the ball and no matter which school you went to. The first score came after multiple defensive stops when the Bear’s running back was able to punch it up the middle. While offense could not get going, a great punt to the four-yard line by Davis Ashcroft set the Sharks defense up for a safety bringing the score to 7-2. The Sharks promptly marched down the field after their defense’s huge play, however the Bears were able to hold them out sending it into the second quarter. By the time fourth and goal rolled around the Sharks had not been able to get into the end zone, settling for a field goal to put the score to 7-5. After that the Shark’s defense, specifically Aidan McCabe and Trooper Price, put up a fight containing Bartram and forcing them to punt the ball away once again. Ponte Vedra methodically drove their way down the field ending the drive with a touchdown to Luke Pirris putting them up 11-7. The Bears had an answer when a quarterback keep designed play led to another touchdown, once again changing the score. But the Sharks defense was not done, they blocked the extra point attempt leaving the score at 13-11. After a quick possession by the Sharks, the Bears march down the field only to be stopped at the goal line four times in a row and being held to only a field goal, making the score 16-11 at halftime. Once the game started back up Bartram quickly put up points with a short pass to the end zone. Getting the ball back from a strong defensive display, they once again drive down the field only to be stopped short by the Sharks team efforts. Offense starts to kick into overdrive and after a few plays the Sharks convert a passing touchdown to sophomore wide receiver, Ryan Smith changing the score to 23-18. Bartram’s running back finds a hole and rushes all the way to the fifty-yard line but junior, Corey Bloss hustled to make the tackle saving PV from a one play touchdown. The Sharks hold them out of the end zone until the end of the third and force them to kick a field goal and miss. Multiple connections between Bunkosky and sophomore receiver Griffin Owen allow the Sharks to march down the field ultimately setting Pirris up for a huge grab for another touchdown putting them on top 24-23. After holding them back for the rest of the fourth quarter, the Shark’s defense was too tired and the Bears were able to kick a field goal to take the final lead at 26-24 and then get an interception to end the Sharks chance at a comeback.
Overall, Coach Brad Kessel is happy with how his boys played and adjusted for Bartram’s football team. Both he and Griffin Owen give credit to the Bear’s players talent and coaching. The one thing that they could have done better was preventing third down conversions allowing for the Shark’s defense to get off the field and the offense to get back on it for another chance to put up some points. Much like Owen’s perspective, Coach Kessel believes, “moving forward from the Bartram game will not be difficult because we have great leadership that take being a black shirt seriously. Everything is still in front of us. We will continue to strain to be the best defense we can be.”
“The stands were electric all night long..”
Throwing the score out the window, this game was one of the best efforts seen at home by the PVHS students. The stands were electric all night long, never wavering in spirit. The Sharks came out here and played hard under the lights, putting on a show besides the homecoming show. This game will be one that players and fans alike will look back on fondly.