Pinellas Park rolls up some numbers, but can't turn them into points, while Clearwater turns in big plays.
By C.J. RISAK
Published October 2, 2004
CLEARWATER - The numbers on Pinellas Park's side of the ledger were impressive: 318 rushing yards, 21 first downs, while giving up just 18 offensive plays to Clearwater. You could believe a lopsided victory was in hand.
It was. Only the win belonged to Clearwater, which scored touchdowns on runs of 48, 71, 81 and 14 yards on the way to a 42-7 victory.
The Tornadoes improve to 3-1 overall, 2-0 in the Class 5A District 9 race. Pinellas Park is 0-4 overall, 0-2 in 5A-9.
The Patriots, who had been outscored 108-7 in their first three games, had hoped to get off to a better start against Clearwater. And they did, driving 49 yards to the Tornado 31.
But that's when things began to unravel for Pinellas Park. A reverse on a fourth-and-3 resulted in a fumble and a return by the Tornadoes to the Patriot 5-yard line. Jason Harris scored on Clearwater's first play, and a two-point conversion pass from Brice Lawrence to Adam Blake gave the Tornadoes an 8-0 lead.
That was the first of three one-play touchdown drives by Clearwater. The second came 2:41 later after a short punt by Pinellas Park gave the Tornadoes the ball at the Patriot 48. On the first play, Harris - who had 172 rushing yards on nine carries, scoring four touchdowns - took a pitch to the left and outraced the Pinellas Park defenders to the end zone and a 14-0 lead.
The Patriots had 18 first-quarter plays but no points. Clearwater had two and scored two TDs.
Pinellas Park, handcuffed all game by Kyle Chilton's deep kickoffs, did drive 80 yards at the start of the second quarter to narrow the gap to 14-7 on a 6-yard run up the middle by quarterback Dominic Bell. But on the Patriots' next possession, a Ryan Gilbey punt was blocked and the Tornadoes took over at the Pinellas Park 47. On third-and-6, Harris swept left, then cut back and reached the Patriot 3 before being dragged down. Harris scored on the next play and Clearwater's lead was 21-7 and never looked back.