FOOTBALL: Cypress Creek wins both halves of jamboree

WESLEY CHAPEL – Both Cypress Creek and Pasco entered Thursday night’s three-team jamboree with question marks across the board as they concluded their respective springs. 

Playing also against St. Petersburg Catholic, each team displayed improvement on the offensive and defensive ends of the ball. Cypress Creek edged out Pasco 14-12 and St. Petersburg Catholic 10-0, with the Pirates edging the Barons 6-0 in the final half at Cypress Creek High School. 

“I don’t know if I’m a big fan of the jamboree format,” Cypress Creek head coach Mike Johnson said. “You get going in the first half against Pasco and get some momentum and then you have to restart all over again. Jack (Neimann) played well tonight. He showed good composure under pressure.” 

Cypress Creek entered the game looking to break in a new signal caller in Neimann, who replaces the outgoing Owen Walls. The Coyotes impressed when it came to the array of playmakers they had on the field around Neimann, with running backs Tre Gibson and Melachi Askin, tight end Dylan Lolley and wide receiver Milton Gracia. In the second half of play, Neimann completed 7 of 13 passes for 83 yards against the Barons. 

The Pirates came out firing on all cylinders offensively behind junior running back Tayshaun Balmir, who scored on a 65-yard touchdown run and a 49-yard catch-and-run. Down 14-12 with 48 seconds in the opening half against Cypress Creek, Pasco had a shot to tie things up on a 2-point conversion attempt, but the pass fell incomplete. 

Pasco in 2021 scored 18 points all season long and scored 18 total between the two halves of play versus St. Petersburg Catholic and Cypress Creek. Also impressing for Pasco was quarterback/safety Angel Miles, who made plays with his arm and legs on offense. 

“To be honest, we’ve only had Tayshaun (Balmir) for about a week,” Pasco head coach Alphonso Freeney said. “For them to be able to gel like that with the offensive line was really good. The biggest thing for us is she is young. We start a lot of sophomores.” 

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at andyvillamarzo@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo. Mark Minges Jr. contributed to this report.