ST. PETERSBURG — The pressing question for the Gibbs High football team coming into this season was: Who would be under center?
Last Friday, Lakewood senior transfer Tyrell Hubbard-Smith proved he is the answer.
Hubbard-Smith threw for 197 yards and three touchdowns against Seminole’s defense in one half of the Kickoff Classic. That included two touchdowns to Demardre Walls, who decided to come out for the team in his senior year.
“We’ve had our own connection since little league,” Hubbard-Smith said. “We have our communication system. If he sees something in the defense, he gives me that look. It’s a sign, and I know I’m going to him. It’s my first time playing quarterback in high school, since I was a defensive back, but hopefully he and I can get our chemistry back.”
The scary thing is coach Rick Kravitz thinks Demardre’s brother, Marquez Walls, is better.
“Marquez is probably the better of the two. This is his first year of varsity, but he has more size and athleticism. He’s only a junior, too. He should have had two more touchdowns than the 30-yarder he had. Watch out for him this year.”
Dunedin looking for turnaround
Last season, Dunedin went 1-9. With proven first-year coach Matt Lepain at the helm, the team showed Thursday why it could be the surprise team in Pinellas County.
Dunedin lost by only seven points to 6A powerhouse Largo and tied 7A contender Pinellas Park in two halves of a jamboree.
The main reason for the improvement is the play of seniors Argi Radani and Andrew Gordon. The two showed a great rapport together in preseason 7-on-7 games. On Thursday, Radani hooked up with Gordon twice, for touchdowns of 18 and 87 yards.
Radani, a Clearwater International Academy transfer, threw for 2,723 yards and 35 touchdowns last season in eight-man football.
Gordon didn’t play much last year because of injury. His rare speed, length and sacking ability for his size make him a cornerstone of the Falcons’ defense. Lepain couldn’t be more excited to have him.
“He was ineligible last spring. But he’s worked his tail off to get back in good graces ever since and been a godsend to us. He’s learning how to get used to his body and becoming a leader.”
Northeast’s future could be bright
Last year’s 1-9 Northeast team looked promising last Friday in a Kickoff Classic. After trailing 21-3 at halftime to St. Petersburg, the JV led a furious second-half comeback for the 30-28 victory. But coach Jeremy Frioud was still disappointed in some of his players.
“Maybe some of our seniors could learn from our JV.”
Freshman Jaylynn Williams, a promising starting tailback, is suspended for Friday’s game by the FHSAA for throwing a punch against St. Pete. Frioud also noted that some JV players will be moving up for tonight’s game against Frioud’s old school, Largo.
The Vikings have fresh talent. Transfer Jimmy Clark arrived at Northeast two weeks ago. Now the 6-foot-3 190-pound senior is the starting free safety, and Frioud expects him to be an impact player for the Vikings defense.