Sharks Take First Loss of Season Against Bartram
By Kennedy Rosendahl
The Ponte Vedra high school football team started off their season last Friday night, Aug. 26, against the Bartram Trail Bears. Unfortunately, they lost with a score of 13-7. Despite their 157 rushing yards, the Sharks were unable to convert in the Red Zone. They could not overcome the three turnovers that left them at a disadvantage.
In the first half, the Sharks did not play their best offensively. They did not score and at the end of the half, the score was 13-0 in the Bears’ favor. Overall, the Sharks’ numbers looked pretty good, especially running the ball. Out of 157 yards, 62 of them belong to sophomore, Brian Case, a new crucial addition to the Sharks team. On paper, you would think that this impressive run game would lead to some points. But, things took a turn for the worse. The team could not convert any yardage into a touchdown, and had three fumbles. Also, the Sharks quarterback, junior, Ben Burk, came out of the game with a “minor concussion,” so senior, Nathan Bunkosky, had to step in. While Bunkosky did a good job adjusting to the position change, this change of pace did not benefit the Sharks. The second half was better for the Sharks. They finally got their touchdown when Bunkosky threw a pass to senior, Alex Cotto. Cotto also had a good night receiving, racking up 61 yards. The defense did not let up any more points, showing pure toughness. Even then, the Sharks could not pull out the win, but they improved very much in the second half.
One thing the Sharks proved in this game is that they are not a team that will give up. They kept fighting until the very end, and even improved as the game progressed. A key leader of the Sharks defense and team as a whole, senior, Trooper Price, recognized this. “We got better as the game went on, which is really good, when our team is in a dog fight and not quitting.” This was definitely shown in last Friday’s game, as the Sharks and Bears have quite the rivalry. Neither team wanted to lose that game, and even though the Sharks fell short, they pushed until the end. Price also realized where his team needed improvement stating, “We have to eliminate turnovers.” This is a huge part of the game that the Sharks need to fix. When they do, they can be a lot more successful.
Next week, on Sep. 2, the Sharks take on Florida State High School at home. Hopefully, they can turn their game around and come out on top.
9/16 Game Update
The Ponte Vedra Sharks football team had a successful Friday night against the Middleburg Mustangs, getting their first regular season win with a score of 35-20. They played very well on both sides of the ball, but the offense looked significantly better than the previous weeks.
The Mustangs took the lead first and scored on a passing touchdown. Luckily, the Sharks answered with a passing touchdown to sophomore receiver, Landon Okla. This tied the game up at 7-7 with 3:50 in the first quarter. The Mustangs had one more touchdown, making the score 14-7 at the end of the quarter. The biggest threat to the Sharks was running back Mike Mitchell, a senior for Middleburg that is committed to Utah. The Sharks’ defense handled the pressure well and were prepared for the challenge. They had a huge stop at the beginning of the second quarter and a forced fumble by junior, Jarell Jimenez and senior, Trooper Price. The defense has remained consistent throughout the season. The offense was what made a huge difference for the Sharks. Junior, Ben Burk, threw for 215 yards and completed 19/24 of his passes. He threw three touchdowns, and ran for two, both in the second quarter. The Sharks went into the half with a score of 21-14.
At the start of the third quarter, the Sharks had a great drive. Sophomore, Brian Case, had a few huge runs, and had a total of 12 carries for 100 yards on the night. The drive ended with a touchdown by senior, Nathan Bunkoski, and the third quarter ended with a score of 28-14. In the fourth quarter, Okla caught one more touchdown pass, his second of the night. The defense only allowed one more touchdown, ending the game at 35-20.
The coaching staff was very pleased with this outcome and the way the offense performed. Wide-reciever coach, Coach Rosendahl, said, “We executed the right plays at the right times. We played a fundamentally sounds game.” Coach Rosendahl is all about fundamentals, so him describing the game as “fundamentally sound’ is a huge compliment to the Sharks’ team. He recognized the change in the offensive intensity when he said, “The boys found their spark on offense, it was like a whole new team.” Coach Rosendahl also added that “if we (the Sharks’ team) continue to play like that, we’re going to keep winning these ball games.” Hopefully the Sharks can continue their newfound spark into the rest of their season and keep up their win streak.
Next week, on Sep. 23, the Sharks take on the Pedro Menendez Falcons at home. The student theme is USA colors. The Falcons’ record is 2-2, similar to the Sharks. If the offense performs as well as it did in Middleburg, then the Sharks football team is setting themselves up for another win this upcoming Friday.