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Florida spring football roundup: Gulf gets by Land O’ Lakes and Venice defeats Naples

Gulf looked impressive in its spring win over the Land O’ Lakes; Defending Class 4S champion Lakeland edges Lake Minneola
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Spring football games and jamborees started up last week, with high school football taking center stage as summer looms ahead. Plenty of spring football was on tap Thursday night throughout the Sunshine State as teams took the field for some action. 

Courtesy of Billy D. Photography 

Courtesy of Billy D. Photography 

We highlight some games that stood out from Thursday night along with scores we’ve compiled. If you have any scores you’d like to report, please message us on Twitter @Andy_Villamarzo or @SBLiveFL. 

Gulf 28, Land O’ Lakes 20 

In a battle between two Pasco County programs that reached the postseason in 2022, the matchup certainly lived up to the billing. 

The Buccaneers continued their upward trajectory through the ranks of the county as they edged out the Gators on Girardi-Young Field at Des Little Stadium. Gulf running back Antonio Muniz rushed for a game-high 197 yards and scored twice in the victory. 

When it came to offensive fireworks, neither team held back trying to take the other deep. Gulf got on the board first when quarterback Ethan Holewski connected on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Noa Paselio. Holewski ended the night completing 11-of-17 passes for 156 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. 

Holewski’s counterpart, Mason Clarke, had himself a nice game on the evening leading the way for the Gators. The second-year starter for Land O’ Lakes completed 8-of-15 for 183 yards and added 89 on the ground. The Gators threatened multiple times in the final quarter to score and potentially tie up the game, but the Buccaneers’ defense stood tall in the redzone area. 

Venice 49, Naples 28 

In a battle of the South Suncoast versus Southwest Florida, it would be the former getting the upper hand once again. But not without a comeback attempt in the second half. 

The 2022 Class 4S state runner-up Indians defeated the Golden Eagles behind an all-around effort from their offense and defense. Venice got a nice outing from quarterback Jadyn Glasser, who ended the evening throwing two touchdowns on the evening. 

It looked like the game might get out of hand as by halftime the Indians led 35-7, but a strong second half effort nearly got the Golden Eagles back into the thick of things. Naples running back Shawn Simeon showed he will be the next great running back in line for the Golden Eagles, as he rushed for over 200 yards. 

Naples got to within 35-28, but Venice pulled away by adding two more touchdowns on the board. 

Lakeland 44, Lake Minneola 32 

Undoubtedly the top matchup in the 863 was between two teams that didn’t need much introduction to one another. 

Lakeland defeated Lake Minneola handily in the region semifinals last year, making it a rematch from the Class 4S playoffs. Now with the Dreadnaughts rolling out a new head coach (Marvin Frazier) and quarterback (Zander Smith), it was a whole new look for Lakeland. 

Not much changed when it came to the outcome. Lakeland defeated a feisty Lake Minneola group behind a solid debut by Smith at quarterback. Smith, a transfer from Palmetto over the off-season, threw four touchdowns on the night for Lakeland. 

Lakeland started off the scoring when Smith connected with wide receiver Jamar Taylor Jr. on a screen that went for a touchdown and the Dreadnaughts began rolling from there. Dreadnaughts’ sophomore cornerback Keon Young ended the first half with an interception, securing a 30-12 halftime lead. 

Other Thursday night scores 

Carrollwood Day School 42, Pasco 7

Winter Haven 7, Haines City 0; Fort Meade 14, Winter Haven 13; Fort Meade 13, Haines City 0

Out-of-Door 7, Bradenton Christian 6; Oasis 3, Out-of-Door 3; Bradenton Christian 6, Oasis 0

Largo 7, Sarasota 0; Largo 7, Berkeley Prep 0

The First Academy 21, Zephyrhills Christian Academy 14 

North Port 38, Bayshore 14 

Halifax Academy 40, Warner Christian 0

Wildwood 54, Hernando 7

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at and follow him on Twitter @Andy_Villamarzo.