Tigers dazzle in shutout

A 96-yard TD run by Middleton's QB is the highlight of the night.

By JOEY KNIGHT, Times Staff Writer
Published September 30, 2007

TAMPA - History will indicate Blake prevailed Saturday night in its annual "Battle of the Bands" clash against Middleton's Marching Tigers at Raymond James Stadium.

But in the action preceding and following halftime, the Tiger football team's proverbial percussion work utterly dominated.

What a drumming this was.

Behind senior team MVP DeAndre Presley 114 passing yards, 97 rushing yards, the Tigers rolled to a 40-0 triumph before approximately 8,000. Middleton (3-2) has won the last three meetings in this cherished local rivalry, renewed earlier this decade.

"We knew by their record (0-5) we could win," said Presley, who provided one of the most dazzling plays in series history with a 96-yard touchdown run just before halftime.

"But we know there's been many upsets, so we just knew we were going to come out and play a hard game, and the scoreboard tells it."

Indeed, anyone arriving at RayJay in search of excitement was an evening late.

A night after South Florida's 21-13 victory against fifth-ranked West Virginia sent raucous USF students charging the field, Middleton had taken a 20-0 lead less than 15 minutes into this contest.

The Tigers scored on their first three possessions, with Presley finding Danorio Johnson over the middle for a 26-yard touchdown pass and later hooking up with Carlton "Superman" Jones on another intermediate route over the middle for a 46-yard score.

Sandwiched between them was a 1-yard touchdown run by Jones, the Tigers' 2006 game MVP who finished with 97 yards on 14 carries Saturday night.

But the backbreaker was Presley's coast-to-coast run, aided by a chip block from receiver Magic Davis near the Yellow Jackets' 30-yard line that sprung his quarterback the rest of the way. Presley, who exploited a hole up the middle, said the play called for him to run outside.

"It was just something we saw that was there," Tigers coach Harry Hubbard said. "What we wanted to do really was come out of their territory to give us a little breathing room. You know, DeAndre runs a 4.4 (40-yard dash), so it's Katie bar the door."

Presley's final touchdown, with 9:45 to play, was an 11-yarder to sophomore Justin Sanders, whose father died of a heart attack the day of last year's Jackets-Tigers game.

Blake managed only 126 total yards and never advanced inside the Tigers' 30. Jackets sophomore T.J. Mutcherson (12 carries, 51 yards) was his team's MVP.

Joey Knight can be reached at jknight@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3350.

Middleton 40 Blake 0