FOOTBALL: Gulf snaps 29-losing skid, beats Anclote

Gulf High ended its 29-game losing streak at home Friday night by taking down Anclote, 26-24.

BUCCANEERS 26 SHARKS 24

NEW PORT RICHEY — You have to dig deep into the archives to find when the last time the Gulf High Buccaneers won a football game.
 
If you do, you'll come to find that the last time victory came back on Aug. 24, 2018, against Cypress Creek, 14-12. What followed was a 29-game losing streak and 1,132 days of futility.
 
All that ended on Friday night when Gulf was able to pick up its first win in over three years, upending Anclote 26-24 at Des Little Stadium.
 
For Gulf head coach Sean Eperjesi, it’s his first win as the program’s lead man since taking over. Eperjesi was previously the head coach at Gulf Middle School and he’s now coaching a lot of familiar faces. Picking up the program’s first win of the season marked achieving a goal long in the making.
 
“I think that’s been the biggest thing for us, is getting past that expectation,” Eperjesi said. “Gulf has been expected to lose for so long and that’s why we’ve changed the moniker. We’ve even changed the name that’s on the front of the jerseys to Buccaneers now.”
 
Gulf (1-3) has a chance to make it two wins in a row when they face Brooksville Central, a team that lost to Anclote 30-8 the week before. The Buccaneers showed early on against the Sharks (1-4) they meant business and did so behind the running of tailbacks AJ Blanton and Terrance Henderson. Blanton had himself a strong night, rushing for 188 yards on 23 carries and scoring twice.
 
Henderson was nearly as effective, going for 129 yards on 14 carries and two scores. Quarterback Ethan Holewski was efficient through the air for Gulf, completing 7 of 19 passes for 114 yards and an interception. Gulf ended the evening with 429 yards of total offense compared to Anclote’s 227.
 
Anclote was able to take a 24-20 lead into intermission but a long delay due to an injury on the field seemed to derail the Sharks’ offense, as they were shutout the entire second half. Gulf got one score in the second half from Henderson with 9:20 left in the third quarter. The Sharks had their chances but turnovers and penalties ended up being the team’s undoing.
 
Anclote quarterback Quinton Moore ended with 111 yards passing on 6 of 14 passing with two touchdowns and a costly turnover.
 
“This is hopefully that start to a corner turn for now knowing that we can win,” Eperjesi said. “As great as it is to come up here and get this win, I came here for the kids. This is all about the kids.”
 
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at andyvillamarzo@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.