CLEARWATER - The host Tornadoes won their homecoming game by virtue of the running game. Jason Harris rushed 31 times for 199 yards and all five touchdowns. Clearwater responded to each Falcon impact play with a gamebreaker of its own, leaving the momentum on the home sideline for most of the game.
The Falcons shot themselves in the foot, as a penalty nullified an early Michael Vick-esque 65-yard touchdown run by Theo Wilson in the first quarter. Instead of going up 7-0 on their first possession, the Falcons turned the ball over on downs, and failed to capitalize on their early momentum.
PLAY OF THE GAME: With the ball on the Falcon 10-yard line, Jason Harris completed a five-play, 51-yard drive with his fifth touchdown run of the game. The touchdown came on the drive after the Falcons pulled to within nine points, and proved to be the winning score.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Harris was the go-to-guy for the Tornadoes, as he got the ball for all but two of the 10 plays inside the 20-yard line. He made the Falcons pay for their mistakes, and quieted down a Falcon rally late in the game.
KEY STATISTIC: The Tornado defense produced six turnovers, which translated into 14 points for Clearwater.
THEY SAID IT: "The coaches made sure that I went north and south in the second half, and we just pounded away. This was definitely the best game of my life." - Harris.
- TOM LANG, Times correspondent
EAST LAKE 21, PINELLAS PARK 0
EAST LAKE - Pinellas Park traveled to East Lake in search of its first victory. Unfortunately for the Patriots a stiff Eagle defense stood in the way. Entering the fourth quarter the Patriots were still very much in the game down 6-0. But the Eagles racked up 15 points in the final quarter to win. The Patriots shot themselves in the foot, missing out on several opportunities to score due to turnovers and costly penalties.
PLAY OF THE GAME: On a first down early in the second quarter East Lake called a play for running back Jamal Walker. Walker shook off two defenders in the backfield, lost a few more turned the corner and bolted down the sideline for a 32-yard gain. Although this drive did not result in a score the play pumped energy into the home crowd and fired up the Eagle.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Eagle quarterback Derek Tate stepped up when his team needed him most. Early in the fourth quarter with his team clinging to a 6-0 lead, Tate orchestrated an efficient 51-yard drive. On the drive Tate accounted for 36 of his team's 51 yards. Tate had two powerful runs for 26 yards and a pass good for 10 yards.
KEY STATISTIC: The East Lake defense turned in a dominating performance, wreaking havoc in the Patriot backfield. The Eagles had eight sacks and forced four fumbles not to mention all the pressure they applied to the Patriot quarterbacks.
THEY SAID IT: "Our defense was big for us tonight. We didn't perform well on offense in the first half so our defense kept us in it." - Tate.
- CHAD GOEBERT, Times correspondent
PALMETTO 6, OSCEOLA 0
SEMINOLE - Palmetto spoiled Senior Night for Osceola, whose win streak ended at four. The Tigers (4-2) forced five turnovers, including interceptions by Rodney Dunbar, Harold Smith and Daniel Pope.
Osceola (4-2) began the game with a 12-play, 85-yard drive, highlighted by runs of 20 and 23 yards by Ryan Thompson and Dominic Madry. But Thompson fumbled at the Tigers 1. In all, the Warriors reached Tigers territory six times. But they fumbled twice, were intercepted twice and failed on fourth down twice.
After Dubar picked off Sergio Allen during the second quarter, Palmetto went on a seven-play, 40-yard drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown plunge by quarterback Jesse Bundrage with 3:17 left.
The Warriors had one last chance after linebacker Gene Civello recovered a fumble at the Osceola 35 with 48 seconds left. But four passes by Anthony Nurse were batted down.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Smith's interception late in the game came at the Tigers 25 and ended Osceola's last drive into Palmetto territory.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Harold Smith and Joe Morris combined for 143 of Palmetto's 165 rushing yards. Smith finished with 54 yards on 15 carries, and Morris carried 18 times for 89 yards. Ryan Thompson led the Warriors with 78 rushing yards.
KEY STATISTIC: The Warriors are 2-0 on the road but fell to 2-2 at home.
THEY SAID IT: "We knew we had our hands full coming in here against a great Osceola team, but our defense created enough turnovers for us to win." - Palmetto coach James Haynes.
CARMINO IMONDI, Times correspondent
SHORECREST 22, ADMIRAL FARRAGUT 20
ST. PETERSBURG - Jacob Stein rushed for 138 yards on 20 carries and led Shorecrest to the victory.
Quarterback Danny Wood opened scoring on a 13-yard run. A successful two-point run by Page Harris gave Shorecrest an eight-point lead.
The Yellow Jackets capitalized on Chargers turnovers in the first quarter. After Shorecrest fumbled on their 45, Vernon Hobbs took it the rest of the way for the Yellow Jackets' first score. Another Shorecrest fumble in Chargers territory led to Tai Herrera-Clark's 30-yard run and a 14-8 Admiral Farragut lead.
The Chargers offense responded in the second quarter. A 15-yard face-mask penalty deep in Yellow Jackets territory led to a Mark Catanese 2-yard run. Nate Dameron's 1-yard score gave Shorecrest a 22-14 halftime advantage. But Admiral Farragut stormed back in the second half. Herrera-Clark's second touchdown, a 35-yarder, cut the Shorecrest lead to two. But the Chargers defense held on.
PLAY OF THE GAME: With Admiral Farragut trailing 22-14 in the third, Kreg Brown rushed for 45 yards down the Chargers sideline, breaking several tackles during the run, which set up Herrera-Clark's second score.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: For the Chargers: Stein (136 yards rushing, two PATs) and Catanese (14 carries, 91 yards). For the Yellow Jackets: Herrera-Clark (two TDs, 125 yards rushing) and Hobbs (50 yards rushing, TD).
KEY STATISTIC: The Yellow Jackets had six penalties for 55 yards, with two negating long runs into Chargers territory. The Chargers had two for 10 yards.
THEY SAID IT: "We're coming along and we just need to work on not beating ourselves." - Phil Hayford, Chargers coach
- AARON THOMAS, Times staff writer
TEMPLE HEIGHTS 28, CALVARY CHR. 27 (OT)
CLEARWATER - A gutsy two-point conversion call in overtime gave the Eagles the narrow victory. With everyone anticipating a game-tying extra point Temple Heights coach Steve Lewis called a fake that led to Chaki Smith's conversion reception and a win.
Calvary Christian had sent the game into overtime on David Penn's 24-yard touchdown.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Temple Heights quarterback Mike Peria threw for 92 yards and two touchdowns and added 80 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
KEY STATISTIC: The Eagles controlled the clock by rushing 34 times for 168 yards, leaving the defense fresh so they could come up big late in the game.