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Cambridge’s Chad Walker leaves to coach in North Carolina

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Cambridge Christian’s Chad Walker, who led the Lancers to a 2A region semifinal appearance last season, has left to become the coach at Christ School in Arden, N.C. 

Walker was introduced as the Greenies football coach last week. He takes over a program that won a state title last year. 

“I’m excited about the opportunity to not only embrace the winning tradition here and maintain that success, but also to try and raise the standard to an even higher level,” Walker said. “I’ve been blown away by the character and demeanor of everyone I’ve met and look forward to getting started.”

This will be Walker’s third head coaching job in as many years. 

In January of last year, Walker left Land O’ Lakes after two seasons to take over at Cambridge. He replaced Bob Dare, who was dismissed as a teacher and coach at Cambridge after 11 seasons.

The circumstances were difficult. A few players transferred to other schools and Walker did not have much time to get acclimated to his new players with spring practice canceled last season because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Nevertheless, the Lancers thrived under their new coach, going 9-2 and losing to eventual state semifinalist Seffner Christian 49-47 in the region semifinals. Both of Cambridge Christian’s losses this past season were against playoff teams and were decided by a combined six points. 

Football

Football: Friday night scoreboard

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Final Clearwater Academy 40, Jacksonville Raines 19

Final Lakewood 35, Lakeland Kathleen 19

Final Ocala Trinity Catholic 21, Calvary Christian 21

Final St. Petersburg Catholic 35, Bradenton Christian 28

Final Central Florida Christian 47, Bishop McLaughlin 0

Final Springstead 14, Crystal River 7

Final Satellite Beach Satellite 41, Weeki Wachee 0

Final Trinity Christian 38, Keswick Christian 6

Final Clearwater 15, Largo 12

Final Osceola 21, Citrus 0

Final Carrollwood Day 23, Sarasota Cardinal Mooney 9

Final Foundation Academy 47, Northside Christian 35

Final Northeast 36, Tarpon Springs 0

Final South Sumter 34, Cypress Creek 15

Final Orlando Christian Prep 48, Seffner Christian 8

Final Zephyrhills Christian 55, Pasco 0

Final Anclote 30, Central 8

Final Jesuit 35, Plant City 13

Final Hernando 27, Nature Coast 21

Final Armwood 27, Steinbrenner 0

Final Newsome 35, Chamberlain 0

Final Strawberry Crest 28, Freedom 14

Final Land O’ Lakes 28, Sunlake 26

Final Tampa Bay Tech 28, Gaither 14

Final East Bay 41, Spoto, 7

Final Clearwater Central Catholic 23, Sebring 7

Final. Leto 14, Brandon 12

Final Hudson 42, Gulf 13

Final Durant 40, Sickles 13

Final Wesley Chapel 48, Fivay 0

Final Mitchell 25, East Lake 20

Final Plant 23, Sumner 15

Final Boca Ciega 28, Lakeland George Jenkins 14

Final Robinson 26, Blake 13

Final Wiregrass Ranch 69, River Ridge, 47

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The football player of the week

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WR Josh Robinson, Fr., Calvary Christian

A dynamic playmaker, Josh Robinson has already proved he is no ordinary freshman. 

In his first year of high school football, Robinson was given a prominent role. He continually improves, catching four passes three weeks ago and hauling in five passes the following week.

Still, that was nothing compared to Robinson’s performance last week. 

Against The First Academy, he set season highs for catches with six, yards with 167– and touchdowns with three. That’s right. Robinson reached the end zone on half of his receptions. 

Those scores helped the Warriors win 37-14 and improve to 3-1. 

Fans were impressed. Robinson received 57 percent of the votes (995) in the football player of the week poll to beat out Sunlake’s Kevin Spillane, who had 26 percent (453 votes). 

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Luke Yoder powers PHU past Countryside

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By BRIAN MCLAUGHLIN

PALM HARBOR — It has been a while since Palm Harbor University’s football program had a night quite like Thursday’s 27-10 home win over Countryside.

Not only was this the first time the Hurricanes knocked off their nemesis on the field since 2008 but it also marked the first time PHU has started 3-1 since 2016.

The Hurricanes did it thanks to a running back with NFL pedigree who kept racking up yards, so much that he nearly set a school record.

Junior running back Luke Yoder, the son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Todd Yoder, rushed 311, along with two touchdowns.

The younger Yoder was just 12 yards shy of surpassing the single-game school record of 322 set by former PHU standout James Brown against Ridgewood in 1999.

It was the third straight game Yoder rushed for 200 or more yards. His big numbers on the ground helped the Hurricanes finish an undefeated September by outscoring opponents 84-24. PHU hosts rival East Lake on Oct. 1.

Photo courtesy of Monika Malyszko

“I’m very proud of how hard we played tonight,” Hurricanes coach Mike Mullaney said. “There were a lot of self-inflicted mistakes that we made that hurt us tonight, and we need to clean up those mistakes for next week.”

Mullaney was talking about the 104 yards of penalties and two turnovers in enemy territory that made the game seem closer than it really was. But while he was frustrated with being short of having a perfect night, he was happy with the defensive effort, the execution up front from the offensive line – and the array of players who had stellar nights.

Case in point: While Yoder would steal the show in any 60-second recap of this game, he was hardly the lone guy who had his best night of the year. Defensive stud and sophomore linebacker Gunner Fodor registered four tackles for loss and eight tackles overall, while his co-captain in the linebacking corps – senior Ian Seibert – posted eight tackles and four tackles for loss, as well as a key tipped pass. 

Fodor and Seibert also combined to rush for 55 yards and two touchdowns to give the ground game 366 yards and four touchdowns on the night.

Senior defensive end Erik Malyszko – who earlier in the year made key first-down conversions as a fullback on offense – had his best game on defense with an interception, along with a sack and another tackle for loss. He has made a name for himself by making pivotal plays at crucial points in the game.

The defense ended up holding Countryside’s top player – Jaden Griffin – to 59 total rushing yards on 11 carries. As it turns out that all came on his one breakaway touchdown run – the other 10 carries netted zero yards. Considering he came in as one of Pinellas County’s top rushing threat with nearly 400 yards and seven touchdowns – that was no small feat by the defense.

When it became obvious PHU’s defense was going suffocate Countryside’s run game, they went to the air. The Hurricanes recorded three interceptions and allowed just 151 yards passing, much of it coming late in the fourth when the Cougars were down by 17. Besides Malyszko, senior Alex Lynch, and freshman Will Seibert each picked off a pass. Mekhi Butler, a senior defensive back, also was solid in pass defense.

This was, perhaps, the biggest win in school history over Countryside considering the previous win on the field (the 2012 victory came via forfeit) was by seven points. PHU has played varsity football since 1997.

Now comes an even bigger rival.

The Hurricanes host East Lake this week in a game that will have plenty at stake. After all, it is the Class 8A, District 11 opener for both teams.

TEAMS1ST Q2ND 3RD 4TH FINAL
Countryside037010
Palm Harbor776727
QTEAMPLAYCONV.TIME MARKDRIVE
1stPHYoder 1 run(Lynch kick)2:44 left in 1st12 plays, 60 yards
2nd COUNGregory 42 FG10:25 left in 2nd 12 plays, 55 yards
2ndPHYoder 1 run(Lynch kick)0:28 left in 2nd12 plays, 43 yards
3rdCOUNJ. Griffen 59 run(Gregory kick)11:46 left in 3rd1 play, 59 yards
3rdPHFodor 14 run(kick blocked)0:56 left in 3rd12 plays, 80 yards
4thPHI.Seibert 3 run(Lynch kick)1:14 left in 4th8 plays, 15 yards
COUNTRYSIDEPALM HARBOR
1st downs824
Att-Rush17-55, 1 TD58-366, 4 TDs
Pass-C-A-I10-23, 3 INT, 151 yds2-5, 0 INT, 11 yds
Punt4 punts, 37 avg2 punts, 46 avg
Penalties13-86 yds11-104 yds
Fumb-Loss0-03-2
Time of Poss.27:0632:54
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