Times staff writers
What happend in local football action.
Seminole 15, St. Petersburg 12
SEMINOLE - It was a historic homecoming night for the Warhawks, as Seminole defeated St. Petersburg in a see-saw game to give coach Sam Roper his 100th career victory. The Warhawks (4-4) struck first on their opening drive behind a 4-yard touchdown run from Ryan Catanzaro with 7:59 left. The Green Devils cut the deficit to 7-6 on the ensuing kickoff, as Ferrell McGhee sprinted 89 yards for a score. St. Petersburg then captured a 12-7 lead with 9:52 remaining in the first half after Todd St. Louis raced 14 yards for a TD. The Warhawks regained the edge on an 80-yard kickoff return by Colby Erskin. Seminole had a chance to extend the lead, but Erskin fumbled at the Green Devils' 9-yard line. The Warhawks pounded away at a fatigued St. Petersburg defensive line with the power running of Catanzaro and Lyndon Rowells. They combined for 172 of Seminole's 185 rushing yards. The Green Devils (4-4) had one last opportunity with 5:42 left. After a 34-yard field-goal attempt by the Warhawks' Tim Forsman was wide right, St. Petersburg drove to the Seminole 40, but Erskin's second interception of the night ended the Green Devils' final drive.
PLAY OF THE GAME: A fake by Seminole punter Devin Collins, who passed to Rowells for 14 yards with 38 seconds remaining to secure the victory.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Rowells rushed 18 times for 96 yards, and Catanzaro carried 20 times for 76 yards and a touchdown for Seminole. Lawon Scott had a sack and fumble recovery and made some key drive-stopping tackles for the Green Devils.
KEY STATISTIC: It was the second straight game Rowells carried the Warhawks' offense in the second half. After rushing for 130 yards in the last two quarters against Clearwater a week ago, he ran for 60 of his 96 yards in the second half against the Green Devils.
THEY SAID IT: "One hundred wins means a lot to me. I have to give a lot of credit to my family and my coaching staff for helping me accomplish this feat." - Roper.
- CARMINO IMONDI, Times correspondentNorthside Christian 44, Winter Park Trinity 6
ST. PETERSBURG - Northside wasted no time locking up the win, scoring 28 first-quarter points. The Mustangs defense was strong the whole game, allowing one touchdown.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Winless Trinity Prep did not have many highlights, but they did have the play of the game. Saints receiver Brandon Pittman got the ball with his team down 30-0 in the second quarter. He ran up the middle, broke two tackles, spun around another defender, stopped mid stride, cut to the other side of the field and sprinted 34 yards for Trinity's only score.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Northside quarterback Bobby Dare ran the ball seven times for 52 yards and two touchdowns, including a 20-yard scamper. Dare was 5-for-7 passing for 55 yards and had 35 yards on punt returns. Dare racked up 142 total yards.
KEY STATISTIC: Northside's defense was dominant, allowing 37 yards rushing and 18 yards passing. Northside dominated the the second half, allowing no yards on 16 plays.
THEY SAID IT: "The key tonight for us was execution, our offense gets better each week. Our defense and special teams have carried us, but we need offense in the playoffs. That first quarter is how we want to play." - Northside coach Bob Dare.
- CHAD GOEBERT, Times correspondentDixie Hollins 24, Boca Ciega 21
GULFPORT - Dixie Hollins spoiled the Pirates' Homecoming in a thrilling contest that lived up to its hype. With just under two minutes left, Boca Ciega got a break as the snap to Rebels punter Justin Dudley sailed over his head and he fell on the ball at the Rebels' 25. The Pirates moved the ball to the 9, but the clock expired as they had already used all of their timeouts.
PLAY OF THE GAME: With less than 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Jared Lohden's 48-yard field goal gave the Rebels an 11-point advantage.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Anthony O'Banner had 93 yards on 10 carries for the Rebels. The Pirates' Myron Dillard rushed for 144 yards on 14 carries.
KEY STATISTIC: Boca Ciega didn't get a first down in the second half until their last possession of the game.
THEY SAID IT: "We made a lot of mistakes, but the kids persevered and everybody stepped up and played their part tonight." - Mike Morey, Dixie Hollins coach.
- ANTHONY SALVEGGI, Times correspondentTarpon Springs 28, Dunedin 18
DUNEDIN - Ejections, penalties and poor special teams led to a dismal second half for Dunedin (1-7).
Matt Selby (5-of-9, 76 yards) opened scoring midway through the first quarter, finding Montell Gamble on a 26-yard streak. Theo Wilson (9-of-16, 181 yards) threw two touchdowns in the second quarter - 67 yards to Lamar Green and 52 to Shrome Hargrove - but the Falcons trailed 13-12 at the half.
Tarpon (4-4) began all three of its second-half possessions in Dunedin territory, scoring touchdowns on two of them. Martez Hardy scored his second rushing touchdown in the third quarter, and Marcus Thompson ran 11 yards for a TD in the fourth. Thompson led all rushers with 57 yards on 14 carries, while Tarpon's defense held Wilson to just 25 yards on the ground.
Four players were ejected, three from Dunedin, on three separate altercations that included a game-pausing brawl.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Jimmy Thurber picked off Wilson with about two minutes left and the Spongers took a knee from there.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Gamble returned two punts for a total of 106 yards. His four catches were good for 52 yards.
KEY STATISTIC: The Falcons were held to 65 rushing yards and averaged 20 yards per punt.
THEY SAID IT: "I've been doing this for 28 years. I've seen Shaun King and all the best. Theo Wilson is the best athlete in the state. I'm telling you he is always dangerous." - Don Davis, Tarpon Springs coach
- ERIC MUSKATEVC, Times correspondentSP Catholic 64, Tampa Catholic 0
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 correspondentIndian Rocks Chr. 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 correspondentAdmiral Farragut 28, Keswick Christian 21
ST. PETERSBURG - On a night of turnovers by both teams, Admiral Farragut emerged the victor, spoiling the playoff hopes for the visiting Crusaders. Admiral Farragut turned four Keswick turnovers into immediate touchdowns.
PLAY OF THE GAME: After an Admiral Farragut fumble at the Crusaders 41 with 1:43 left, Blake Engelhardt completed a couple of passes to bring Keswick to the 32-yard line of Farragut. But, with 41 seconds on the clock, Engelhardt, in an attempt to spike the ball, fumbled the snap and Farragut recovered, sealing the win.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Vernon Hobbs, a freshman, led the Blue Jackets with 174 yards. His touchdown runs of 49, 12, 35 and 40 yards all came after Keswick turnovers. Engelhardt passed for 279 yards for the Crusaders while Tony Anderson had spectacular catch and runs of 49 and 20 yards, respectively.
KEY STATISTIC: Every score by Farragut and Keswick came after a turnover by the other team. Farragut finished with four turnovers and Keswick had five.
THEY SAID IT: "We have a young team and we are really jelling here at the end of the season. Vernon stepped up big time and provided a huge lift for out team by carrying most of the load. We are excited about the future of this team." - Chris Ah Leong, Admiral Farragut coach.
- CHRIS GIRANDOLA, Times correspondentGibbs 43, Northeast 38
ST.PETERSBURG - The Gladiators got to .500 with a 4-4 record and did it by outshooting the Vikings in a high scoring game.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Gibbs running back Walter Brady scored a touchdown on a 54-yard run to seal the victory.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Brady had 11 carries for 63 yards and three touchdowns.
KEY STATISTIC: Gibbs outgained Northeast in passing yards 158-14.
THEY SAID IT: It's a great feeling to get .500. We haven't had this feeling in a long time." - Gibbs coach Al Davis
- MIKE BALLENGER, Times correspondentLakewood 10, Sarasota Booker 7
James Green had his first 100-yard rushing day of the season and scored Lakewood's only touchdown as the Spartans picked up their first district win since 2002 with a 10-7 victory over Sarasota Booker.
"We controlled the ball tonight," said coach Brian Bruch. "We had no turnovers tonight - no fumbles, no interceptions. It's been a long time since that happened."
The Spartans (2-6) avenged a 61-21 loss last season to Booker, the only previous meeting between the teams.
Bruch also praised the Spartans' defense, which shut down Booker all game. When Booker had its final drive of the game in an attempt to win or tie, Lakewood stopped them on downs at midfield.
"All facets of our game were good tonight, and we didn't kill ourselves," Bruch said.
Lakewood's other points came on a Ramsey Linder field goal.
- TIMES STAFFSoutheast 21, Osceola 12
BRADENTON - It wasn't much to look at, not for either side. There were fumbles and bad snaps, dropped passes and defensive breakdowns. But a win, however hideous, is a win. And for Southeast High, a win meant a district title.
The Seminoles, who stumbled early on defense and had turnovers on their first three second-half possessions, escaped with a 21-12 victory over Osceola. The win gave Southeast the outright title in Class 3A-District 11, marking the history-rich program's first league crown since 2000 and 16th overall.
Southeast improved to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in district play.
The loss eliminated Osceola's (5-3, 2-2) playoff hopes, pushing district runnerup Palmetto into the postseason.
Struggling to contain the Warriors' powerful wing-T offense, Southeast led at halftime thanks to a pair of Osceola botched punts. A bad snap on the first left the Noles nine yards from the end zone. Aaron Higdon blocked Osceola's next attempt, giving Southeast the ball at the Warriors' 25. A 1-yard run by David Fonua and a 21-yard pass from Marquel Neasman to Faron Hornes accounted for Southeast's touchdowns for a 14-12 halftime lead.
Despite drive-halting fumbles on its first two possessions and an interception of Neasman on its third, Southeast kept its 2-point lead until midway through the fourth. The Noles stopped Osceola quarterback Sergio Allen for a 4-yard loss on a fourth-and-1 to set up Southeast's game-clinching drive.
Southeast junior Adrian Jenkins, held to 24 yards in the first half, scored on a 16-yard run on third down with 5 minutes, 53 seconds remaining. Jenkins finished with 180 yards on 26 carries. But he had three fumbles, one of which came 3 yards from the goal after a 26-yard run in the third quarter.
Neasman finished 8-of-15 for 67 yards and at halftime was named Homecoming King.
- BRADENTON HERALD