CRYSTAL RIVER 20, SPRINGSTEAD 12: Chianta Smith rushes for 119 yards, and Chris Bunch's fourth-down touchdown run puts the game away.
By JOHN SCHWARB
Published October 11, 2003
CRYSTAL RIVER - It looked like a busted play all the way. Chris Bunch certainly was not going to make the first down, and for a moment it looked like he would lose yardage.
But when you're in a Crystal River uniform against Springstead, the cutbacks always work and the holes open like magic.
They did for the Pirates quarterback on a brilliant fourth-and-11 run in the fourth quarter to give Crystal River a crucial touchdown in a 20-12 win.
Crystal River (4-2 overall, 3-0 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference) moved to 11-0 all-time against Springstead, though the Eagles (4-2, 4-1) perhaps had their best chance to end the skid.
After Justin DeMutiis connected on a 40-yard field goal, his second of the game, Springstead trailed by one point at 13-12. Crystal River then drove into Eagles territory at the start of the fourth quarter but stalled at the 23-yard line with incomplete passes on second and third downs.
The Pirates went for it on fourth and long, but Bunch could not find a receiver. He scrambled left, found nothing, then spun to his right, got to the sideline and found the the end zone.
"I wasn't thinking touchdown, I was just thinking first down," Bunch said. "The whole left side was clogged up. I spun back, my wingback Justin Duncan made a key block, and I had one defender to beat."
Springstead got the ball back in Pirates territory midway through the fourth after Crystal River muffed a punt, but an offensive pass interference call killed the drive.
"It looked like we had some real good momentum, obviously that penalty hurt us a lot," Springstead coach Bill Vonada said. "That was the backbreaker."
The Eagles had success on the ground early and took a 9-7 lead in the second quarter on an 11-yard run by Quinden Floyd. But Crystal River answered before halftime with a 71-yard drive capped by a 12-yard Chianta Smith touchdown run.
The senior also had a 17-yard touchdown and was the game's leading rusher with 119 yards on 18 carries. Springstead quarterback Ian Wald had 77 yards on 18 carries.