Heinkel leads Red Devils in spring football game

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By Steve Jarboe

It was certainly not the Red Devils from the past on offense and their defense was outstanding as time and time again they shut down the Tavares Bulldogs offense.

Spring games are played to reward the players for their hard work and practices in the hot humid month of May. 

It's a time when football players begin to loosen up and get into shape, and to find out what each player needs to work on over the summer before fall practice begins in August.

It allows the teams to run plays and hit other players in different color uniforms, and lets the coaches make important evaluations, and see just how competitive their team is as they go to summer break.

With a few tweeks, and a little fine tuning here and there, this 2012 Red Devil team looked ready for the fall campaign to begin.  

Brandon Cunningham, Tyus Williams, and Keith Neal, along with several others, never skipped a beat on defense, playing like they were well into the season, even though the team had just three weeks of practice under their belts. 

Jorge Deciderio was back kicking off and kicking extra points in true form. And just to show his toughness, following a kick off when the Red Devils over ran the coverage, Deciderio fought off a would be blocker and made a solo touchdown saving tackle for the Red Devils.

When the defense is playing well, this puts the spotlight on the offense and this Red Devil offense was up to the task, led by quarterback David Heinkel.The Red Devils threw the ball time and time again and Heinkel was making strong throws, on target hitting his receivers in stride. 

It was three dropped passes that kept the game as close as it was.

After a 0-0 first quarter of play, and the Bulldogs best drive kept alive by back to back pass interference penalties on the Red Devils, the defense picked up their first turnover as they recovered a Bulldog fumble.

The Red Devils started the second quarter as Heinkel hit sophomore Tad Donald with a short pass. Donald made one cut, turned on the speed and raced 74 yards to the end zone leaving would be tacklers in the dust. The Deciderio PAT put the Red Devils up 7-0.

On the next possession after holding the Bulldogs to a three and out, Heinkel found Damien Strange over the middle for a 28-yard touchdown pass in the end zone. The PAT put the Red Devils up 14-0.

With just over two minutes left in the first half the Bulldogs were trying to run out the clock after misfiring on several pass attempts.

The Red Devils’ defense again recovered a fumble at midfield and took over with 59 seconds on the clock.

Heinkel then scampered 40 yards untouched, for the third Red Devil touchdown of the second quarter.

The PAT snap was mishandled and the Bulldogs got a hand on the ball causing it to be low of the cross bar.

The Red Devils took a 20-0 lead into halftime.The Bulldogs started the second half with a perfectly executed onside kick against a surprised Red Devil team. The Bulldogs stayed with their ground game and turned the ball over after a failed field goal attempt was well short. Following two pass completions by the Red Devils took the ball out to the 40 yard line, the offense stopped themselves, and  the center snap sailed well over Heinkel’s head for a 30 yard loss.

The Red Devils were forced to punt for the first time in the game. The Red Devils began to pull several starters on defense half way through the third quarter. Neither team could score in the hard fought third quarter.

The Bulldogs were not ready to throw in the towel trailing 20-0 as the fourth quarter began.

With several non-starters playing on the defense for the Red Devils, the Bulldogs got on the scoreboard with an 18 yard pass play. 

The PAT made the score 20-7 with lots of time left. The Red Devils took the kickoff and Heinkel began to drive his team down the field through the air. At one point completing five straight passes. Following a 15 yard scamper by Heinkel, he found Tyus Williams over the middle with a perfectly thrown pass down to the Bulldogs 2 yard line.

Heinkel stepped into the end zone on the next play. The PAT by Deciderio put the Red Devils ahead by a  27-7 score. Heinkel threw for two touchdowns, ran for two touchdowns, and his passes the entire game were right on the money. 

The spring game for 2012 is now history and there are several questions that the Red Devil coaching staff will need to address between now and the time fall practice begins.

 It seemed without the actual numbers, the Red Devils threw the football more in this one game than they did the entire 2011 season.  And they did it very well. They also ran the football well. They have a kicker, and their punter who is also Heinkel, blasted his only attempt. 

And the defense played outstanding football. They looked very good as a team that only had three weeks of practice under their belts.