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2022 In Review July-Sept. 022

By Randy Lefko
Posted 1/4/23

Utes for ‘Burg’s MitchellMIDDLEBURG - In a flurry of football scholarship verbal commits around Clay County, Middleburg High senior running back Mike Mitchell, one of the top dual threat …

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2022 In Review July-Sept. 022


Utes for ‘Burg’s Mitchell

MIDDLEBURG - In a flurry of football scholarship verbal commits around Clay County, Middleburg High senior running back Mike Mitchell, one of the top dual threat offensive players in Florida last year, joined the party with his recent commit to play for the University of Utah after his senior season.
“I want to be able to take my skills to the next offense and Utah runs a spread offense with dual threat running backs,” said Mitchell, a 10.8 100 meter time with eight reps for the Combine 225 bench press. “I like to compare myself to Zack Moss, their running back that just went into the NFL. I can run the ball and catch it.”
Mitchell, who rushed for nearly 1400 yards last year and blasted enemy defenses with slash runs the length of the field with games of 201, 217 and 255 among his nine games over 100 yards; one under 100 in a 32-30 win over Santa Fe, with 18 touchdowns.
Utah, 8-1 last year and 12th in NCAA Associated Press final poll, is in the very rugged PAC-12 South with the likes of UCLA, Arizona State, Colorado and USC. The Utes employed a balanced offense under head coach Kyle Whittingham with a 400-plus average on offense; 6.4 per run, 10.5 per pass. The Utes played in the prestigious Rose Bowl last year.
“I chose Utah because they play Big Boy football,” said Mitchell. “Coach Wolfe, from day one, has been correcting me from a bunch of dumb decisions on and off the field. I wouldn’t be here without his guidance.”

Huff debuts with 600 offensive yards

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Furman rolled up 589 yards of total offense and scored 45 first half points en route to a 52-0 victory over North Greenville in the season opener for both schools Thursday night at Paladin Stadium.
Graduate transfer quarterback Tyler Huff, a Ridgeview High graduate in Orange Park, FL, paced Furman (1-0) with 189 yards passing and 94 rushing yards, including a 56-yard touchdown run, in his first game with the Paladins. The former Presbyterian College signal caller completed 10-of-12 passes and tossed scoring strikes covering 33 and 12 yards in the first half in helping Furman to a 45-0 halftime lead.
“It felt good, I haven’t started a football game in about year with that COVID year than I tore my ACL,” said Huff, a Ridgeview High graduate. “I got good guys around me so it made it easy.”
The shutout was Furman’s first at home since blanking Gardner-Webb, 45-0, in 2003 and first season opening shutout since downing South Carolina State, 38-0, in 1988 en route to its 13-2, national championship.
Huff helped open the scoring when he found All-America tight end Ryan Miller open down the middle of the field for a 33-yard touchdown strike on the game’s initial possession.

Dog food bags to national champion

FLEMING ISLAND - Fleming Island native Michelle Carlascio tells a funny story of her transformation from a non-athlete mom to a Supermom of sorts that is now considered a top powerlifter in the United States and a possible world’s top powerlifter.
“Used to be we would go to the grocery store and I would get the 50-pound bags of dog food with my kids; both in their 20s, and they would ask to help,” said Carlascio, now a 2022 Powerlifting America National Champion and a 2022 NAPF Powerlifting American team 63Kg M2 gold medalist. “I just grabbed it, said I got this, threw it over my shoulders and walked away. I think it kind of freaks them out.”
Carlascio, 51, and husband Keith, 53, both were weekend warrior 5K runners, some crossfit training and some lifting.
“I was running 5Ks until I broke my foot at my own birthday party,” said Carlascio, a former pre-school teacher and now a fitness trainer in the First Coast YMCA system; mainly Barco Newton and Dye Clay YMCAs plus a crossfit Level I instructor at the Steel Mill gym in Fleming Island. “I never competed and I was always I would never like to compete.”
Now, both have returned from a NAPF competition for the IPF; National American Powerlifting Championships in Panama to qualify for the International Powerlifting Championship. Powerlifting defined as the Bench Press, the Squat and the Dead Lift disciplines.

Knights explode to “upset” of Eagles

FLEMING ISLAND - Oakleaf High football stamped out an early top spot in their super charged district lineup with a 20-7 first half lead holding to a 26-20 upset of previously unbeaten Fleming Island High Friday night in a packed Fleming Island High stadium. Highlights for the game included two interceptions; one a pick six score, for wide receiver turned defensive back Taylor Bradshaw, the other an end zone steal late in the game to seal the six point gap.
“We wanted to win this one most this season,” said Oakleaf senior quarterback Drew Ammon, who connected with a 75 yard scoring pass to wide out Carlos Witherup to build a 20-7 first half surge. “I know we got Bartram Trail, but this one was important. Carlos opens up I’m going to get him the ball.”
For Oakleaf head coach Marcus Miller, the win was a big one for him, but more importantly, the win told his team that they can compete with the best in the district.
On Oakleaf’s first possession, the Knights converted a fourth and five situation at the Golden Eagle 19 yard line with an Ammon pass to Bradshaw that preempted a two yard scoring dive from running back Devin Outlaw with eight minutes left in the first quarter.
In what seemed to preview a track-meet scenario for the highly-potent offenses, Fleming Island sophomore quarterback Cibastian Broughton showed off his speed afoot with a 65 yard sprint to the Knights’ 25 yard line.
In what would be a staple defensive effort for Knight’s defensive coordinator Ben White, Oakleaf sophomore safety Drake Stubbs stuffed Fleming Island running back Sam Singleton on second down to lose a yard and eventually leave the Golden Eagles at zero after a failed fourth and five that ended with Oakleaf defensive back Corey Washington scooping up a Trace Burney fumble.