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By CHRIS BERNHARDT JR. | Hernando Today
Published: October 16, 2010 | Updated: May 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM
Following last week's 56-0 rout of Tavares, Hernando High Head Coach John Palmer faced the
question of why star running back Alvin Delaine's carries have gone down this season.
The veteran headman had an immediate answer. He simply felt the county's reigning Player of the
Year was too critical on the other side of the ball to not double as a defensive back.
On Friday night at Leesburg, the senior showed why he is such a duel threat. He followed a critical
interception with two huge touchdown runs, all in the fourth quarter, guiding the Leopards to a 35-21
Delaine provided the determining plays as Hernando scored 21 unanswered points in the final period,
rallying for an important Class 3A, District 6 victory.
"We're not backing down," Delaine said. "We're going to play hard. We showed all of our character. We
didn't let up. We kept fighting through all of it and did what we had to do."
This matchup came down to two critical areas dominated by the Leopards (5-1 overall, 3-1 3A-6):
rushing and turnovers.
Hernando, still without starting quarterback Tyrail Hawkins (high ankle sprain), ran the ball 68 times
for 291 yards, while limiting Leesburg (4-3 overall, 3-1 3A-6) to 13 yards on 19 carries.
The Leopard defense also forced four turnovers (two fumble recoveries, two interceptions), which kept
the Yellow Jackets from expanding on two different leads.
"I thought we played flat early," Palmer said. "I thought we played uninspired. But we fought and kept
scratching and really played extremely well in the second half.
"Offensively I think the key for us was our offensive line blocked outstanding and we finished with zero
turnovers. That was huge in this ballgame."
When Leesburg quarterback Undra Mitchem ran in his second 1-yard touchdown of the night, he put
the Yellow Jackets on top, 21-14, with 2:02 remaining in the third quarter
The Leopards responded with a 14-play, 85-yard drive capped by an 18-yard run to the end zone by
freshman quarterback Rashaad Hart.
Three plays into Leesburg's ensuing possession, Delaine jumped high in the air to pick off a Mitchem
pass, giving Hernando the ball on the Yellow Jacket 42.
"All I was worrying about was getting that ball," Delaine said. "I wasn't worried about hurting myself. I
just worried about getting that ball for my offense."
He made sure the offense cashed in on the takeaway, reaching the end zone from 13 yards away with
2:06 remaining in the game.
Malcolm Hudson recovered a fumble on Leesburg's next play from scrimmage and Delaine followed
with a 7-yard score that sealed the outcome at the 1:39 mark.
"I knew we needed it," said Delaine, who tallied 114 yards on 20 carries. "I had to do what I had to do. I
told my linemen I was going to close the game out for them."
This triumph, combined with a win over Tavares last week, significantly rejuvenates Hernando's playoff
hopes after a heartbreaking 13-9 loss to Dunnellon two weeks earlier.
"This one is big," Palmer said. "Our backs were against the wall. We really had to have this win. I can't
say enough about our team."
HERNANDO 35, LEESBURG 21
Qtr. Scoring 1 2 3 4
HER 0 14 0 21 - 35
LEE 7 7 7 0 - 21
LEE - Mitchem 1 run (Rizzo kick)
HER - Smith 1 run (Pinzon kick blocked)
HER - S. Adams 4 run (Delaine pass from Pope)
LEE - D'Mauri 11 pass from Mitchem (Rizzo kick)
LEE - Mitchem 1 run (Rizzo kick)
HER - Hart 18 run (Pinzon kick)
HER - Delaine 13 run (Pinzon kick)
HER - Delaine 7 run (Pinzon kick)
First Downs 18 12
Atts./Rushing Yds. 68-291 19-13
Comp./Pass Atts./Int. 2-2-0 13-18-2
Passing Yds. 49 182
Total Offense 70-340 37-195
Fumbles/Lost 4-0 5-2
Return Yards 3-8 3-29
Punts/Avg. 4-27.5 3-40.7
Penalties 6-50 2-15
Sports writer Chris Bernhardt Jr. can be reached at 352-544-5288 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|2010 Leesburg Yellow Jackets Football Archives
Hernando's Thomas Bronson bursts through Leesburg's defensive line to bring down quarterback
Undra Mitchem in Friday night's game. Brooksville Hernando vs Leesburg, October 16, 2010,
Leesburg Memorial Field at Hubert O. Dabney Stadium
Carver Heights Quarterback Club, Leesburg High School, Leesburg, Florida