I love it on Florida Kickoff Classic nights when tons of kids come crawling out of the gridiron grass like cinch bugs disguised as college football prospects.
They're all over the place.
It leaves people like myself scrambling for a roster trying to figure out, "Who's that?"
Believe it or not, I like when players come out of nowhere who we missed on the summer recruiting trail. It keeps us on our toes, helps people understand that as much as someone calls us experts we are more like observers, and it's always a good feeling to see a player emerge from anonymity.
Several players did that on Friday night and while there are plenty who might say they "told you so," in the long run the only thing that matters is seeing the player make a name for himself.
Here's a little breakdown, and it's not nearly a complete run-down:
It's too bad a storm had to roll in on the Edgewater-Hagerty game because I sure would have liked to have seen more of new Edgewater running back Sean Capobianco. A transfer from Apopka, Capobianco's name came up recently as someone we might watch.
He transferred to Edgewater after struggling academically at Apopka since his parents' divorce in his eighth grade year. John Capobianco, a longtime teacher at Edgewater, went through all the hoops to bring Sean to Edgewater last winter for the spring semester, and the move has paid great dividends for Sean in the classroom.
"You wouldn't believe the paperwork I had to bring to the hearings up in Ocala, but we did everything by the book and wouldn't do it any other way," Capobianco said. "I'm just thankful to get my son over here and get him back on track. I think he can even pull a 3.0 this semester and he's right on target now to graduate and everything. "
In just two quarters against Hagerty, Capobianco had a pair of touchdowns in his Eagles' debut. It's early and that was a jamboree game, but he did look good, as did the other Edgewater players, especially the defense.
Poor Hagerty QB Jeff Driskel, the Florida commit and top-ranked QB in the country by most rankings services, was running for his life against the Eagles' defense. He may have even woke up Saturday morning with the No. 19 overlaid on his No. 6 jersey as many times as Deion Green hit him.
But Green wasn't the only one. Another Apopka transfer Jaquail Ashley showed what we already knew, wreaking his own havoc, as did numerous Edgewater defenders like Karl Joseph, who had a pick of a Driskel pass. Everybody pretty much got a piece.
Edgewater's sophomore quarterback J.B. Woodman was impressive as well, taking the offense down the field on three scoring drives, and even had a touchdown pass to Alton Howard, who made a nice, leaping catch. Edgewater faces a tough test in the real opener on Friday against Dr. Phillips. The Panthers blanked Flagler Palm Coast 42-0 in their jamboree game.
In Lake Brantley's 20-0 win over Wekiva, it was not so much about who emerged, but what. In fact, George Clayton is in his 15th season as coach at Lake Brantley High, and something tells me this has never happened before — three TD passes in one game, and none on the ground. Although RB Ti'on Green did have a 97-yarder called back.
Able-armed quarterback Jordan Strittmatter threw two touchdown passes — recipients were Pierre Youngblood-Ary and Corey White — and then backup Colin McGrath also hit White with a TD pass. Preseason questions included those about Clayton using his receivers, like Youngblood-Ary, who has offers from Northwestern, Navy, Middle Tennessee, Memphis and FAU. He obviously has some ideas, but don't expect Clayton to go on a wild passing spree. He's had throwing QBs before, and they handed off in the triple option.
And Green gives Clayton plenty of reason to hand off or pitch out again this season. He's the top junior running back in Central Florida.
Other Friday Night Highlights
- Oak Ridge and Apopka had a crazy shootout that eventually saw the Blue Darters pull away 47-25. The Pioneers, who led 19-6 at one point, were led by the athletic tandem of Ricky Harper and Rayshawn Jackson was quite a load to handle for the Apopka defense, and the emergence of Oak Ridge QB Andre Scott showed the Pioneers have some promise this season. But the experience of Apopka QB Keon Brooks and RB Tom Smith — Tennessee commit — proved too much in the end. The new name for Apopka fans to remember is junior WR Synjohn Lilly, who had a pair of TD catches.
- We already knew Ocoee WR-CB Trenier Orr was an excellent athlete, but he went one step beyond that against Boone, playing quarterback for the Knights, who kept pace with Boone until weather interrupted play. The game was called at halftime, 15-13 Boone. There may not be a better all-around athlete in the area besides Pop Saunders — a Florida commit — at DeLand. Both players can take over a game at any moment.
- Speaking of Boone, we know the Braves probably have the most sophomore talent in the area with the likes of RB A.J. Turman and speedy WR Marvin Bracy, Oviedo transfer QB Alton Meeks was very impressive Friday night. Meeks opened up his Boone debut by threading a bullet through the Ocoee defense to Joe Martinson in stride and Martinson did the rest for a 37-yard TD. Meeks looks like the real deal.
- Deltona pinned a surprising 17-0 shutout on Sanford Seminole. Sophomore quarterback Bryce Natale was intercepted twice and two Seminole fumbles led to Deltona TDs. Natale did have a 76-yard touchdown pass to Ronnie Moore called back for offsetting personal fouls, but he threw a pick on the next play. Wolves kicker Alex Noboa joined a long list of talented Central Florida kickers after connecting on a 39-yarder.
- Bishop Moore had plenty of players pick up the slack for injured running back Tyler Floyd. Senior RB/DB Kyle Dickinson scored twice, including a 55-yarder, ala Floyd. Senior QB Michael Calabro had an outstanding passing performance, completing 13-of-16 passes for 177 yards, and also snuck in from the 2-yard line for a rushing TD. He spread the ball around the field to Dickinson, Blake Tiralosi, Braxton Carroll, Ben Richardson and Ryan Stanney. Junior kicker Duncan Brennan hit a field goal from a little over 40 yards.
- Lake Mary athlete Taylor Richards, a Purdue commitment who had a pair of TDs in the Rams' blanking of West Orange on Friday, has set his official visit date to West Lafayette, Ind. He be in town for the Boilermakers contest with Michigan on Nov. 13. He said Monday he is still solid with the Boilers. More notes
- Zach Marmetschke, a standout linebacker/fullback at Lake Mary, suffered a sprained right ankle against West Orange and is unsure when he might be back on the field. Marmetschke, who is one of the more scholarly athletes in Central Florida, has numerous Ivy League invitations, as well as an offer from Furman. "The doctor said when I am able to run on it without a limp I can go back," Marmetschke said. "It is feeling better and better every day and as of right now it is just a day-to-day thing. I am just doing therapy and everything I can to get better." Knowing Zach, the hard-nosed athlete will be back Friday night, but he should probably sit this one out.
- Talented Liberty offensive lineman Marck Castillo, who was one of the Top 30 players in the Central Florida Super60 for 2011, has quit the Liberty squad for unconfirmed reasons. It's surely tough to see that kind of talent go to waste. Calls to Castillo went unanswered, but we'll keep trying to find out his plans for the future.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com.