Saturday, June 23, 2018

Rays Survive Irma and Jensen


Rays running back Joshua Ames looks for an opening against St. John Neumann Saturday. Photos by Scott H. Shook

Rays running back Joshua Ames looks for an opening against St. John Neumann Saturday. Photos by Scott H. Shook

The Marco Island Academy Rays were dealing with two hurricanes when they visited St. John Neumann stadium Saturday, September 23. And though they fell 42-0 to the Celtics, their coach still thinks they’re winners.

Like so many others in the region, the Rays players have been consumed with the aftermath of hurricane Irma. On Saturday the Rays faced a hurricane named Jensen.

Quarterback Jenson Jones, son of Neumann coach Damon Jones, ripped through the Rays defense in the air and on the ground. Jones threw for 187 yards, ran for 156 yards, had two touchdown runs of over 50 yards and threw two touchdown passes.

Neumann receiver Nyre Handy goes up high to pull in a touchdown pass despite the efforts of MIA’s Jack Fabian.

Neumann receiver Nyre Handy goes up high to pull in a touchdown pass despite the efforts of MIA’s Jack Fabian.

The Rays, on the other hand, struggled to put together a sustained drive, though they had a number of impressive plays scattered throughout the contest. Austin Brooks picked up 74 hard fought yards to pace the Rays. Wendy Luders used his speed and illusiveness to pick up 64. The Rays attempted only three passes and completed none.

But head coach Damon Coiro wanted to concentrate on what was really important following the game.

“The game against St. John Neumann did not go the way we had hoped,” Coiro said. “In the grand scheme of things, the empathy and service to Marco and the neighboring communities affected by Irma is far more important than any win on the field. Every day our young men were in the community helping their teammates and community. Those lessons of giving back are the lessons our boys and families will remember forever.”

Wendy Luders breaks away for a big gain. Luders picked up 64 yards on 14 carries.

Wendy Luders breaks away for a big gain. Luders picked up 64 yards on 14 carries.

The Rays (1-2) host Keswick Christian of St. Petersburg (1-2), on Saturday, September 30 at 7 PM at Winterberry Park.

Freshman quarterback Kyler Howard tries to find an open receiver downfield.

Freshman quarterback Kyler Howard tries to find an open receiver downfield.

Dominic Moller (20), Jay Cartwright (30) and Brenden Howard gang up to stop Neumann running back Eddie Garcon.

Dominic Moller (20), Jay Cartwright (30) and Brenden Howard gang up to stop Neumann running back Eddie Garcon.

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