SARASOTA COUNTY – It’s cliché, but Friday night’s state semifinal game really is David vs Goliath. 10–time state champ, St. Thomas Aquinas, visits a Venice team in search of their 2nd.
“We have a monster in front of us. The only way you’re going to eat an elephant is one bite at a time,” Venice head coach John Peacock said.
The Tribe loaded their schedule this year for this moment. Quarterback Bryce Carpenter explains what was learned in those close games with Braden River and IMG Academy.
“I think it’s prepared us for the speed that they have and how physical they’ll be. I think that was a good test for us. I think that will help us throughout this game and going into the game,” Carpenter said.
What’s different in 2017 is Venice doesn’t rely so much on the run. Wide Receiver Jaivon Heiligh is believed to have set a new single season state record for receptions with 118 and needs only 135 more yards to set another one. The Carpenter–Heiligh combo has been borderline, unstoppable.
“All I really do is come out here and work hard every week. I haven’t really changed up much this week because, we’ve been so far now. It’s been so long. I just have to keep doing what I do. That’s keep catching the ball and score touchdowns,” Heiligh said.
Clint Calhoun has been motivating the Indians for 8 seasons on the sidelines. He believes this team is the real deal.
“I think we should get a lot of fumbles, interceptions, touchdowns and block some field goals. I think we got this game,” he said.
And let Clint speak for the team, the school and the entire city of Venice. They all believe the Tribe can slay the beast.
“I think that home crowd will help our tempo and help us get going,” Carpenter said.
“We thrive off of it. We thrive off fans giving us support. It’s awesome, I love it,” Heiligh said.
“I think this will be a huge opportunity to win the final four,” Calhoun said.