TAMPA — Thursday’s game between Indian Rocks Christian and Tampa Prep was a matchup of the two remaining undefeated teams in Class A, District 7 and would decide the No. 1 seed.
The Terrapins were the favorite, with a program steeped in tradition with four state titles, the most recent coming in 2010.
The Golden Eagles, meanwhile, were upstarts, a program that has made the postseason just three times and has never advanced past the third round.
Tampa Prep used its experience in big games to get off to a fast start in each half, rolling to a 5-2 victory.
“Tampa Prep has a great program and they’re known for starting strong,” Indian Rocks Christian coach Ben Futoran said. “They got some quick goals and caught us on our heels a little bit.”
The Terrapins (11-4) dictated the pace in the first 10 minutes and scored on a goal by Zack Hebert. The Golden Eagles (9-3-1) answered as Cody Sitton scored to tie four minutes later. Twice, Indian Rocks Christian had chances to pull ahead late in the first half but had shots that sailed wide.
“We played great in the first 10 minutes then lost some of our momentum,” Tampa Prep coach Doug Smith said. “We were able to find it again and convert some of our chances.”
Much like the first half, the Terrapins scored quickly to start the second as Jordan Hayes connected on a shot to make it 2-1. Hayes added to the lead with another goal four minutes later.
The Golden Eagles’ Caleb Holman hit a shot from 25 yards away to cut the deficit to 3-2. But IRC couldn’t get any closer. Hebert scored his second goal and Ralph Grauer added one to help Tampa Prep pull away.
“We knew coming in Indian Rocks was a good team that was having a nice season,” Smith said. “I’m sure we’ll see them again in a few weeks.”