Sharks fall out of first after loss to TC

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The Ponte Vedra Sharks suffered their first conference loss of the season after falling to Trinity Christian 21-3 on Friday evening at the Conquerors’ field. The loss dropped the Sharks out of a first place conference tie and makes Ponte Vedra’s final conference game against Bolles critically important from a playoff perspective.

Both the Sharks and the Conquerors own 3-1 conference records, while the Bulldogs of Bolles stand at 4-0. Trinity wraps up the regular season against Bishop Kenny on Friday. Should the Conquerors take care of Kenny and the Sharks stop Bolles, all three teams would finish with identical 4-1 records, and the FHSAA would be left with a postseason playoff nightmare.

However, if BK upsets the Conquerors and the Sharks defeat Bolles, the Bulldogs and the Sharks would share first place, and Ponte Vedra likely would be named conference champs, with Bolles named conference runner-up. In this scenario, Trinity would be left out in the cold.  

On the other hand, Ponte Vedra would be eliminated from the playoffs if it loses to Bolles and Trinity defeats BK. The end result is the Sharks’ playoff hopes come down to Friday night’s game against the Bulldogs.

If Ponte Vedra is to be a playoff team, it will have to come up with considerably more offense than it was able to generate Friday against TC. The Sharks produced just 104 yards of total offense on 43 plays—38 rushes and just 5 passes. Collin Magill was the workhorse for Ponte Vedra with 16 carries for 47 yards, while Mark Calvin rushed eight times for 21 yards. Jarrett Stepp caught two balls for 18 yards. He also had a brilliant 53-yard kick return to give the Sharks a first down at the TC 34-yard line. Unfortunately, a fumble on the next play cost the Sharks a chance to tie the game before the first half ended.

Defensively, Ponte Vedra played well in the first half, allowing the Conquerors a single touchdown and an unsuccessful field goal attempt. Riley Robbins converted a 17-yard, third quarter field goal to make the score 7-3, but that was the last scoring opportunity the Sharks would have. Trinity took advantage of an interception to move in front 14-3 with three minutes left in the third quarter. They added the final touchdown on a screen pass from the Sharks’ 10-yard line with eight minutes left in the game.

Sam Barnhard and Connor McDonough each recovered fumbles for the Sharks. John Tyler led Ponte Vedra with eight tackles; Zach Sommers had seven; Chris James and Zack King had six and Tommy Zitiello had five.

Ponte Vedra travels to Bolles on Friday with the team’s playoff hopes on the line. The Sharks finish the season the following week with a non-conference game at Creekside.

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