Clearwater Central Catholic coach Mike Jalazo was concerned about opening the season on the road against Boca Raton Pope John Paul II.
Not only were the Marauders playing a team that made the playoffs the past six seasons, but they were doing so without three offensive starters - receiver Chip Brinkman and guards Roy Raven and Tyler Dejarnett - who were out with injuries.
It turns out none of that mattered.
Backed by a defense that recovered three fumbles, picked off a pass and allowed 97 total yards, CCC cruised to 16-0 victory.
"We still have a ways to go but we beat a pretty good team on the road," Jalazo said. "To come down here and play as well as we did, especially on defense, I'm just ecstatic."
Paul Raven provided all the scoring for the Marauders. He kicked field goals of 25, 30 and 31 yards to give CCC a 9-0 lead at halftime. In the third quarter, Raven ran 7 yards for a touchdown and kicked the extra point.Keswick routs All Saints'
Yes, it was raining in Polk County, but not enough to delay the opener for Keswick Christian and Winter Haven All Saints'. Behind strong play on the offensive and defensive lines, the Crusaders defeated the Bucs 30-0.
Keswick scored early in the first quarter on a 15-yard field goal by Michael Young. Later in the first half, Young caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Blake Engelhardt and to close out the second quarter, Ryan Carpentieri scored on a 1-yard run, giving the Crusaders a 17-0 lead.
The Crusaders continued to dominate in the second half as Keswick's offense controlled the ball for 10 minutes in the third quarter.
Chris Colucci scored a touchdown on a 4-yard run to finish off the Bucs. The Crusaders scored their final touchdown when Carpentieri broke three tackles on a sweep and ran for a 50-yard score. Carpentieri finished with two touchdowns and 145 yards rushing.
Linebacker Ryan Baxter came up big defensively with two interceptions and 12 tackles.Chargers do not settle
Shorecrest was not trying to make a point in Friday night's opener at Fort Myers Evangelical Christian.
The Chargers were trying to make two.
Down 29-15 in the fourth quarter, Shorecrest rallied with two touchdowns, the final coming on a 5-yard run by Ryan Iacovacci.
That left the Chargers with a decision, and they didn't go for the sure thing.
Rather than relax and savor the tie with an extra point from Jake Stein, Shorecrest chose to gamble with a two-point conversion.
Iacovacci passed to Paul Dlugozima for the conversion to give the Chargers a 30-29 victory. It was the second week in a row the Chargers knocked off a team that was receiving votes in the Class A poll. Shorecrest beat Bronson 30-18 in its preseason opener last week at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex.
Iacovacci completed 8 of 9 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed 19 times for 125 yards and scored twice.Blue Jackets lose
Admiral Farragut opened its season with a road trip to Blountstown and suffered a 34-14 defeat. The Blue Jackets (0-1) look to rebound next week at home against Florida Christian School.
- BOB PUTNAM, LAURA LEE