ST. PETERSBURG — Canterbury coach Bill Jones wants his team to control its destiny. Behind 250 yards and two touchdowns from Brent O’Neal, the Crusaders beat Carrollwood Day 26-20.
“We want to leave the tiebreakers and one-quarter playoffs out of it,” Jones said. “If we lose we’re out.”
CDS (3-3, 1-3) struck first as Robert Davis’ 49-yard run set up a Deuce Gruden 1-yard touchdown run.
The Crusaders (5-1, 4-1) came back with a 10-play 68-yard drive to even things. Jake Holsinger found DaSean Thomas for the 4-yard touchdown.
The teams traded possessions and flipped field position throughout the second quarter until CDS scored with 19 seconds on a Davis 3-yard run to make it 13-7. It appeared that would be the halftime score but Canterbury caught the Patriots off guard and O’Neal raced 61 yards to tie it up.
“I’m not sure what happened on that play,” CDS coach Lane McLaughlin said. “We weren’t lined up when they snapped the ball.”
To start the second half CDS forced a fumble on a sack, and on the next play Andy Embody ran in the touchdown from 30 yards out.
The Crusaders wouldn’t be down for long as another big run by O’Neal set up a Holsinger to P.J. Franklin 15-yard touchdown pass.
With CDS driving in the fourth quarter, Gruden had a pass sail high and O’Neal picked it off and returned his own 47. The Crusaders tried to mount a drive and were almost stopped until a fourth pass interference call gave them new life. On the next play O’Neal scored from 20 yards out to win the game.