Tigers' D preserves late lead

Published October 29, 2006

TAMPA — Robinson had success running all night against the Jesuit defense in a pivotal Class 3A, District 11 matchup, but the Tigers’ defense stiffened when it counted, preserving a 34-21 victory and forcing a three-way playoff on Monday between Jesuit (5-4, 1-2), Robinson and Palmetto for the district’s final playoff spot.

Trailing 27-21 early in the fourth quarter, Robinson (5-4, 1-2) had second and goal at the Jesuit 2-yard line. Two straight Jermaine Doster (19 rushes, 119 yards) carries netted just one yard, and on fourth down, Marco Cobb’s attempt to get outside on a sweep was cut down by a swarm of Jesuit defenders.

“The goal-line stand really shifted the momentum back to us,” Jesuit coach Joe Ross said. “We were looking for a fade pass because we couldn’t stop (Robinson wide receiver Greg Ellingson). But, they decided to run it, and we rose to the occasion.”

Robinson got the ball back at its own 10-yard line still trailing by six with just over five minutes left, but quarterback Justin Le’s fourth-down pass sailed over the head of Anthony Cervantes.

On the next play, Jesuit’s Kevin Valenti (26 carries, 247 yards and three TDs) carried for a 16-yard touchdown up the middle.

Jesuit jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a 63-yard touchdown pass from T. J. Paratore to Matthew Doone on the Tigers’ first possession. Robinson responded with its own long pass play, a 39-yard touchdown strike from Le to Ellingson (6 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns), on its next drive.

Jesuit scored two more touchdowns in the first half for a 21-6 halftime lead. Robinson opened the second half with two touchdowns and a two-point conversion to tie the game at 21 before Valenti raced 66 yards for a touchdown to put the Tigers ahead for good.