Leal, Atlantic Confident Following Loss

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Click here to view the recruiting card of Mark Leal

Last week’s game: Atlantic lost to Pahokee, 13-6. Atlantic is 0-1 on the season
Leal’s stat line: 11-26, 131 yards; 7 carries, 19 yards, 1 touchdown
Next up: Home game tonight versus Jupiter

Last Friday night’s season opening loss was a disappointment, but quarterback Mark Leal says his team came out more encouraged than anything else. Atlantic battled 2A power Pahokee the entire night, taking the lead 6-0 just before halftime. Pahokee rallied for 13 unanswered points in the second half, coming away with a hard-fought victory.

“We came out strong. We kind of set the tone a little bit,” said the 6-1, 185-pound Leal. “Early on, on our first drive, we had a receiver wide open down the field. It was my first throw, so I was pumped up. I way overthrew him. I overthrew him by at least 10 yards, which kind of hurt. We scored first. It was on an option play. I kept the ball and ran it in. After halftime, our offense just stopped clicking. Pahokee has a great team and they made a couple of plays to win the game.”

Atlantic features big-time 2010 class prospects Leal, a Virginia Tech commit, Ohio State wide receiver recruit James Louis and Minnesota running back recruit Donnell Kirkwood. But, according to Rivals.com, six Pahokee seniors have committed to major FBS programs with three more boasting major FBS offers.

“Their defense really stands out,” Leal said. “Like us, you can’t get big plays against them. You have to put together a long drive and trickle it down the field. They are pretty much all D1 athletes. Even the defensive linemen are quick. They had five on the line the entire game. There were two standing ends. They put as much pressure as they could on me.”

Leal assessed his overall performance.

“My performance was okay,” said Leal. “It could’ve been a little better. Me and the receivers could’ve been on the same page more. After we broke down film, we counted nine drops. Of course a couple of my passes were off, but of balls that hit receivers in the hands there were nine drops. We also played in heavy rain, so the ball was slippery. I’m pretty sure that had an effect. Other