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SPRING HILL — There was a moment Tuesday when Tampa Prep truly worried about making the playoffs.
There was beeping, and then a smell.
Suddenly, the Terrapins’ bus was pulled over on the side of the Suncoast Expressway far from the Class 2A, District 9 semifinal game against Calvary Christian at Bishop McLaughlin.
Briefly, there was worry the heavily favored Terrapins might be forced to forfeit.
“That was interesting,” Tampa Prep coach Doug Smith said. “We didn’t know the forfeit rules, but everyone was pretty understanding here.”
Tampa Prep arrived late, then sent everyone home early, wiping out Calvary Christian 8-0 for the second time this season.
Calvary coach Rollin Mohler said the Warriors’ strategy was to pack it in defensively. The only trouble was that the Terrapins possessed enormous talent and firepower.
Tampa Prep (14-4-1) was led by seniors Anthony Baumann and Wes Sever, each with three goals. Juniors Brian Steel and Destin Lyons each scored for the final tally.
The victory sends top-seeded Tampa Prep to the final against No. 2 seed Indian Rocks Christian, a 3-1 winner against host Bishop McLaughlin.
Tampa Prep has advanced to eight consecutive playoff berths with state titles in 2005, ’07 and ’08.
“Our goal is to get a state championship,” Smith said. “We know we have to take every single game one at a time. We talked about it at practice. How long is our season? This could have been our last game. You have no idea how long the season’s going to be.”
Calvary (8-9-2) was able to get the ball closer to Tampa Prep’s goal in the second half, but the Terrapins iced it with 15 minutes to play.
Asked if Tampa Prep has any qualities of the Terrapins’ most recent state title teams — teams Smith was an assistant on — Smith didn’t hold back.
“There’s no doubt about,” Smith said. “We have some raw talent. When we put it all together … I think we can play with anybody.”
At Lakeland, rangy Seffner Christian senior Steven Cunningham scored seven goals to lift the Crusaders to an 8-3 romp of No. 2-seeded Santa Fe Catholic.
Cunningham, who sank a school-record 10 3-pointers in a Crusaders basketball game in December, propelled his team into Friday’s 7 p.m. final against No. 1 Lakeland Christian.