TAMPA - The final score pretty much tells the story. St. Petersburg Catholic (6-1) clinched the Class 2B, Division 6 district title in convincing fashion, overpowering an outmanned Tampa Catholic (1-7) squad. The Barons rolled up over 400 yards of offense in the first half alone to lead 56-0 at the break. The only score in the second half came on a dazzling 45-yard punt return by the Barons' Rashad Etheridge.
PLAY OF THE GAME: SPC running back Jock Sanders took a pass in the flat, then bobbed and weaved his way through the Crusader defense, breaking roughly a dozen tackles on the way to the end zone to give the Barons a 28-0 lead in the first quarter.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: SPC quarterback Billy Tapp was efficient, completing eight of 11 passes for 270 yards, with four of those completions good for scores, all in the first half. Etheridge added an interception return for a score and Carl Teague had three touchdowns.
KEY STATISTIC: Tampa Catholic had more first downs (7-6). That stat is deceiving because SPC scored so often on the first or second play of its drives.
THEY SAID IT: "We worked hard all week and didn't lose focus. Our goal is to win out and host (in the playoffs). - SPC coach Dan Mancuso.
- JASON DAVIS, Times correspondent
Robinson 17, Freedom 14
TAMPA - It was a tale of two halves as the Knights came up with a narrow victory. The Patriots went into the locker room at halftime leading 14-3, but allowed Robinson (6-2) to creep back. The Knights offensive line opened some running lanes in the second half and the defense held Freedom in check to preserve the lead..
PLAY OF THE GAME: The momentum shifted when Robinson quarterback Marcelo Trigg connected with receiver Darrell Stevens for a 38-yard reception on their winning drive.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Knights running back Jermaine Doster had 20 carries for a game-high 131 yards. After two early interceptions, Marcelo Trigg redeemed himself with touchdown passes from 5 and 7 yards.
KEY STATISTIC: Freedom had 110 penalty yards to Robinson's 55.
THEY SAID IT: "Freedom has really turned their program around. We dodged a bullet with tonight's win. I told the kids at halftime that we weren't playing to potential, so we went out and played Robinson football in the second half." - Mike DePue, Robinson coach
- DARREN AUGUSTOWSKI, Times correspondent
Alonso 17, Leto 14
TAMPA - David Mullen's 27-yard field goal with 1:21 remaining in the fourth quarter propelled the visiting Ravens to their first victory of the season. The win put a temporary end to a year of injury and frustration for a 1-7 team that made the playoffs last year. Mullen and receiver Joe Clarke, who accounted for Alonso's first touchdown, are underclassmen who stepped in for injured starters. A 16-play, 79-yard Ravens drive ended on a 1-yard plunge by quarterback Brandon Russell with 14 seconds left in the first half. Leto's Bryant Leonard returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a TD. The Falcons tied the game on their first possession of the second half, marching 99 yards and finishing with a 14-yard scramble by QB Michael Scott.
PLAY OF THE GAME: On fourth-and-six with less than 5 minutes to play, Jordan Sullivan took a direct snap on a punt, running 9 yards for a first down to keep alive the winning drive.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Five-foot-6, 135-pound running back Carlos Anderson carried the load for Alonso, rushing 22 times for 107 yards in the opening half. He finished with 141 yards on 33 attempts. Scott was 8 of 12 for 98 yards for Leto.
KEY STATISTIC: Alonso ran the ball on 31 of 32 first-half plays, limiting Leto to two possessions and 10 plays.
THEY SAID IT: "I'm really proud of the kids. It's hard being 0-7, and it would've been so easy to fold but they stuck it out. This win was huge for us." - Mike Heldt, Alonso coach.
- DAVID NORRIE, Times correspondent
Brandon 29, Bloomingdale 13
BRANDON - Sophomore running back Mike Brown fielded his first kickoff of the year and returned it 98 yards for a touchdown to get the Eagles on the board. Led by a rushing attack that accumulated 331 yards, the Eagles manhandled Bloomingdale in the first half. Brown added a 10-yard TD scamper in the first quarter. Freshman Dontavious Bunts totaled 134 yards on 16 carries and scored a TD in the third quarter to put the Eagles up 22-0.
Brandon's last scoring drive came in the third quarter when junior QB Tyson Gordon threw a short pass to WR Arsenio Curry. Curry darted up the field breaking multiple tackles on his way to a 73-yard score. The Rams scored twice in the fourth quarter led by QB Jason Grant. Grant finished with 134 yards on 28 attempts. Brandon finished the night with 10 penalties for 110 yards.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Brown's 98-yard opening kickoff. PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Running backs Brown and Dontavious Bunts combined for 301 yards rushing.
KEY STATISTIC: The Eagles attempted eight passes, completing four. The ground game controlled the clock and kept the offense out of long yardage situations.
THEY SAID IT: "All this year I've been asking coach to put me in on kickoffs but he wanted me to concentrate on offense. Tonight was my big night." - Brown, sophomore running back on his 98-yard return.
- MARK LENNOX, Times correspondent
East Bay 30, Tampa Tech 10
TAMPA - East Bay recovered an onside kick on the second half kickoff and drove 45 yards to break a 10-all tie. From there, the Indians made two more trips to the end zone, scoring 20 unanswered second half points and avoiding the upset.
As it has all season, East Bay's running attack wore down an opponent. The Indians gained 350 yards on the ground in a whopping 52 attempts, and no yards passing on three attempts.
PLAY OF THE GAME: With 8:18 left in the game, the Indians clung to a 7-point lead against a tough Titan defense. Lined up with a full house backfield, East Bay quarterback Brandon Zackery kept the ball himself, disappearing into a TBT defensive front that had been strong much of the night. This time, however, Zackery found an opening in the chaos, squirting through and racing 43 yards to put the game out of reach.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Durrell Williams stole the show for East Bay's offense, carrying the ball 19 times for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Zackery ran 10 times for 67 yards and the touchdown and fullback Randy Merrel added 68 punishing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
TBT quarterback Dominic Grooms was 14-29 passing for 230 yards. Receiver Devin Smith caught four balls for 76 yards. Vince Johnson added three catches for 82.
KEY STATISTIC: It took until the second half, but East Bay's bruising attack finally paid dividends. After gaining 116 yards on 24 plays in the first half, the Indians gained 234 yards on 30 plays, one passing, in the second half and controlled the ball for nearly 14 minutes.
THEY SAID IT: "We were sloppy at times...but I thought we sucked it up in the second half." - East Bay Head Coach Brian Thornton.
Sickles 21, King 7
TAMPA - Down 14-7, the Lions had three second-half drives stall deep in Gryphon territory.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Sickles linebacker Drew Whitaker returned a James Williams fumble 38 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. It put the Gryphons up 14-0.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Sickles' Nick Carpenter rushed 19 times for 161 yards and scored twice. The 6-foot-3, 216-pound running back sealed the win late in the fourth quarter with runs of 41 and 30 yards before scoring on a 3-yard plunge with 53 seconds left.
KEY STATISTIC: The Gryphons ran 37 times for 342 yards. Complementing Carpenter, running back Pat Shores carried 13 times for 103, and Otis Chambers rushed four times for 81. Otis' 60-yard romp in the fourth was the game's longest play.
THEY SAID IT: "The offensive line showed up big time on that last drive. I was tired, but we just wanted it." - Carpenter.
- JOHN CALKINS, Times correspondent
Armwood 49, Plant 0
SEFFNER - The Hawks secured a homecoming victory with a strong defensive effort that recovered two fumbles, had two interceptions and held the Panthers scoreless with 24 rushing yards.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Late in the second quarter, Armwood quarterback Jameel Williams threw a floater into the end zone. Junior receiver Mat Brevi leaped into the air and pulled down the 16-yard touchdown.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Williams completed 7-of-8 passes for 114 yards and had 52 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Senior running back Demetrius McCray added 106 yards rushing on six carries and scored twice. For Plant, sophomore quarterback Robert Marve completed 7-of-15 passes for 94 yards.
KEY STATISTIC: The Hawks began five of their first six scoring drives inside the Panthers' 40-yard line. For the other, Armwood began on its 7-yard line and marched 93 yards on 14 plays for the touchdown.
THEY SAID IT: "Williams did an excellent job tonight. He's still nursing a high ankle sprain he suffered in the fourth game of the season, but he is doing a great job of getting back into the flow of things." - Armwood coach Sean Callahan.
- DAN GENOVESE, Times correspondent
Indian Rocks Christian 29, Cambridge 13
LARGO - The host Golden Eagles won their Homecoming on a night full of big plays. Kicks and punts were being faked and blocked all night, and there were three touchdowns coming on plays over 25 yards. After trailing 14-0 at halftime, the Lancers rallied, scoring two third-quarter touchdowns on drives of one and five plays, respectively.
The unusual night was capped with a Golden Eagles touchdown by Gary Spicer after he recovered teammate Taylor McMillen's fumble in the end zone. Those types of bounces went the Golden Eagles way whenever they needed them, squandering Cambridge's hopes of a comeback.
PLAY OF THE GAME: At the Golden Eagle 27-yard line, running back Jimmy Davis broke the scoreless tie on a 74-yard burst through the line and down the sideline. The run gave the Golden Eagles the lead for good.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: The Golden Eagles' special teams did more than their part, blocking two field goals and returning one 70 yards to the Lancer 5 late in the first half. They also stopped a critical two-point conversion while creating two of their own, blocked a punt, and kicker David Orrico pinned Cambridge on its own 3 on a punt late in the fourth quarter.
KEY STATISTIC: The Lancers were outrushed 162 yards to 24 in the first half.
THEY SAID IT: "I would prefer to go 10 yards at a time and move the chains. When we didn't go big, we'd get stuck or fumble. The special teams was the difference tonight." - Chris Westerfield, Indian Rocks Christian coach
- TOM LANG, Times correspondent
NEWSOME 55, LANDMARK CHR. 0: In only its second-year of existence, Newsome has a chance for a winning season after beating Landmark Christian and improved to 4-4. Next week the Wolves face cross-town rival Bloomingdale, which is 2-6 and has never had a winning season in the school's 18 years.
LAKELAND 49, PLANT CITY 7: Chris Griffin threw two long touchdowns to Eric Jean and ran 40 yards for another score for host Lakeland. The second-ranked Dreadnaughts (9-0, 6-0) finished undefeated in district play with their methodical victory over the Raiders (4-4, 3-3) before a crowd of about 3,000.
The Dreadnaughts came away with touchdowns seven of the nine times they had the ball. The Lakeland defense dominated until Plant City drove 80 yards in the fourth quarter against the second team. Plant City's Derrick Hallback ran for 99 yards on 24 tough carries.