Posted: 11:49 pm Friday, September 9th, 2011
By Matt Porter
Times were hard for Spanish River.
Oh, were they ever hard.
Two winless seasons. Oh-and-10 in 2010. Oh-and-10 in 2009. A measly 48 points-for last year, 34 the year before that. They were shut out five times — half their games — in both years
But this season is brand-new, shiny and sparkling. Friday night, the Sharks grabbed their second win of the year, beating Boynton Beach 20-16 after falling behind 16-0 at halftime.
They scored 20 points on touchdown runs by quarterback Taylor Schnaars, and running backs Josh Ricks and Mike Adams. Receiver Reggie Love helped seal the win with an end-zone interception with about two minutes remaining. On the game’s final drive, he hauled in a deep ball on fourth down to help the Sharks run out the clock.
“It’s awesome,” Love said. “I just did it for Coach Berger. He deserves every part of that win.”
Sharks coach Ray Berger hadn’t won a game in 26 tries. He took over in 2009 and was an assistant coach during the Sharks’ last previous win, which came on Sept. 26, 2008 against John I. Leonard. That win snapped a 17-game losing streak.
“We brought a couple playmakers in,” Berger said. “It’s that, combined with those kids who have taken a beating growing up with the program, and opening up our offense a bit.”
They broke their latest losing streak two weeks ago, when the playmakers Berger mentioned — Love and Schnaars — led the Sharks to a 26-14 win over Suncoast. Schnaars threw for 164 yards and three touchdowns on 10-of-12 passing and rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. He threw three touchdowns to Love, who caught eight passes for 138 yards.
Love, a basketball player playing his first varsity season, played youth football for the Boynton Beach Bulldogs, but gave it up to focus on hoops. Berger had to sell him on football.
“I said give it a try,” said Berger, who took over the program in 2009. “If it’s not for you, no hard feelings.”
Love said he came out for spring practice and was going through the motions. “Then a Miami scout came down,” Love said.
His size (6-3, 200), hands and body control piqued the interest of college recruiters. He has no college offers yet, but Berger believes they’re coming. He is currently the No. 31 recruit on the PBGametime Big Board
“He’s special. There’s no doubt about it. I’ve coached seven guys who have been in the NFL, at different positions. He’s got it all,” Berger said. “Not many people know about him, but they will when the season’s over.”
Schnaars was at Spanish River his freshman year before spending his sophomore season at Olympic Heights. He didn’t play football last year, when Berger had him in weightlifting class.
“I said, ‘Come on, man,'” Berger recalled. “Reggie’s coming out, you’re both strong and athletic, I think you’d make a great combination.”
The Sharks, who play Olympic Heights at home next week, don’t have much hope for the playoffs this year. The two playoff spots in District 13-7A will likely be split between Dwyer, Atlantic or Lake Worth.
But they have a win. Two of them, actually. And oh, do they feel good.
“In years past, it was about ‘how can I keep the score down, what can I do to slow up the pace,'” Berger said. “Now, I feel like we can compete with anyone.”