After losing to IMG Academy in overtime last week, Clearwater Central Catholic head coach John Davis said his team needed a confidence boost as they head into the playoffs next week.
The Class 3A-7 district champ Marauders got it on Friday night, in the form of a 37-14 win over Anclote.
“We felt that this should be a big game tonight and especially so being homecoming,” said Davis. “Whenever you lose what you don’t want to do is multiply and lose again. Last week we felt that we should have won but I thought going into this week we need to focus on trying to get this win first before making the preparations for the team ahead.”
The Marauders would dominate the first half of the game. Blake Gomez would score first after getting short pass from QB Jeff Smith for a 49-yard touchdown. Kicker Yanni Ramos would get the extra point. JT Steele would help get the ball up 35 yards after a short punt return from Anclote allowing a four-yard touchdown by Connor Dorris.
The Marauders would not relent in the second quarter when Dorris would score his second touchdown of the night. In a shocking twist, Anclote would fumble the ball in the end zone allowing CCC to get a safety making the score 23-0 before the end of the first half.
CCC’s Smith seemed to have control of the game in the third quarter starting with an 11-yard pass to John Brunner for the touchdown bringing in Kicker Hallie Hopkins for the extra point.
But the Sharks would not stay silent for long when Smith’s pass was intercepted in the end zone by Willie Barrett and taken 102 yards for the shark’s first touchdown of the night. CJ Peppe would get the PAT making it 30-7 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
“Jeff (Smith) made a mistake and he’s still a young quarterback. It’s as simple as that. It’s mistakes like those that you have to clean especially going into this time of year.”
The Marauders would answer back with Scott DePergola on the carry for a nine-yard rushing touchdown. The Sharks would try for one last bit of redemption and with 19 seconds left in the 4th quarter, Trent Crawford would take the ball in for Anclote’s last touchdown making the final score 37-14.
For Davis, the teams results gives him confidence going into next week, although there will be a few obstacles to overcome.
“Our defense and offense has played well all year. I couldn’t be more pleased with our guys tonight. Although we did had a lot of injuries with this game. Steele and Royer are two of our players that are banged up right now and that’s going to be a recovery for them. This is not the time of the year you don’t want to be banged up.”
The Marauders (8-2) will be hosting Bishop Verot at home in the class 3A district 5 playoffs and Anclote (6-4) will be facing Tarpon Springs in the Class 5A District 7 playoffs.