Spring Creek snaps four-year losing streak in conference play
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 9, 2010 11:14 PM
SEVEN SPRINGS -- The Gators chomped and romped to a long-awaited victory in "The Swamp" on a cool October evening.
Senior Ricky Brayboy accounted for 222 yards of all-purpose offense and Spring Creek dumped Princeton, 39-14, in the Carolina 1-A Conference opener for both teams.
The Gators presented third-year head coach Aaron Sanders his first victory in 11 conference outings, and they snapped a 20-game league skid that spanned four seasons.
Sanders grinned as he stood among his charges and listened as the band serenaded the team with Journey's smash hit "Don't Stop Believin'" from the stands.
"This is probably the most-complete game we've played since I've been coaching here," said Sanders. "We made mistakes, but we did plenty of good things (and) we finished the ballgame. We played from start to finish tonight."
Javontae Davis' 84-yard return on the opening kickoff and subsequent 3-yard touchdown plunge didn't damage the Gators' psychy. And when Davis broke loose for an 80-yard, game-tying touchdown early in the second quarter, Spring Creek tightened its defense.
Davis finished with 131 yards rushing, but collected just 24 yards in the second half.
The difference: turnovers.
The Gators forced six miscues and converted three into touchdowns.
"Mental toughness," said Spring Creek senior linebacker Will Janning. "We didn't need to hang our heads (after the touchdowns), but just come back and keep fighting. (Forcing turnovers) is something we work on in practice every day.
"You wrap up (the runner) and the second defensive player to the man (tries to) strip (the ball). Turnover drills ... it helps in the game."
Brayboy logged the biggest turnover of the night.
Princeton quarterback Brad Williamson rolled out of the pocket and fired a pass intended for Alan Cooke. Brayboy stepped into the open space and rambled 56 yards to the end zone for the pick six.
"I always believe that good things come to people who work hard," said Sanders. "Ricky was in the right place at the right time, and did what he needed to do with it. It was huge ... swung momentum (in our favor)."
Brayboy's interception put the Gators in front 20-14 and ignited a 25-point outburst.
"(Brad) read the wristband wrong," said Princeton head coach Russell Williamson. "That happens occasionally, but happened at a bad time. We threw it on the ground, they got on it; they threw it on the ground, and we didn't.
"Six turnovers, you can't do that."
Brayboy tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Turner Beilman just before halftime. Brayboy added touchdown runs of 55 and 1 yards in the second half, and ended up with 94 yards rushing and 72 through the air.
Daivon Davis, fully recovered from a knee injury, rambled for 84 yards and a touchdown on 21 totes. Overall, Spring Creek owned a 343-180 edge in total offense.
Janning hauled in a 13-yard scoring pass in the opening quarter.