ZEPHYRHILLS — On a night of big plays, Anclote saved its most spectacular — and unexpected — for last on Friday.
Keshaun Dampier’s 85-yard touchdown catch, on third and 31, helped send the Sharks to a 21-7 win over Zephyrhills. Anclote was winless two weeks ago but now finds itself in a playoff race.
Zephryhills cut its deficit to 14-7 on a 2-yard run by Devon Brockington with 6:36 left. Anclote wanted to run some clock but went backward on penalties and faced third and long.
John Forgione dumped the ball to Dampier on the left side. He seemingly had nowhere to go, but reversed field and sprinted for the touchdown with 3:54 left.
“We were just thinking turn the ball over to our defense,” Forgione said. “They’re good enough to win it for us.”
It was the second time in the quarter Zephyrhills expected but failed to get the ball. Earlier, Terrell Martin appeared stuffed for a loss on a fake punt. Desperate and falling, he pitched to Tymere Carter, who gained 16 yards. On the next play, Forgione hit Dampier for a 23-yard score to make it 14-0.
“I didn’t even know we were running a fake,” Martin said. “We audibled. I had nothing open, and fortunately, there was a guy behind me.”
That guy, Carter, had three catches for 111 yards and a touchdown and an interception of Mike Smith in the third.
Smith was 5-for-23 for 57 yards. Willie Williams, after gaining 27 yards on his first four carries, managed only 5 more on nine carries.
Anclote, 2-5 overall but 2-2 in Class 5A, District 6, needs Zephyrhills (3-3, 3-1) to defeat Fivay on Oct. 26 to help create a three-way tied for second.
“This was so important for our playoff hopes,” Forgione said. “We’ll be big Zephryhills fans in a couple weeks.”