DOVER — Seffner Christian dug itself a 14-point first-half hole, was unable to recover and lost for the first time in a month, dropping its homecoming game 20-7 against the Community School of Naples at Strawberry Crest on Friday night.
“I felt the effort in the first half wasn’t there,” Crusaders coach Steve Lewis said. “The second half was more like it, but it was too little, too late.”
The loss ended the Crusaders’ five-game winning streak and it was their first defeat since a season-opening loss to Mount Dora Bible.
“They were a really good team,” quarterback Tanner Richardson said. “And they hit very hard.”
The Crusaders (5-2) had a tough time getting their normally potent offense on track. Seffner Christian came into the game averaging 47 points during its winning streak, but its lone score came on a 10-yard pass from Richardson to Joe Hagel with 58 seconds left in the third quarter.
“We felt we could do some throwing against them,” Lewis said. “But they are a very tough team, and we knew that coming in.”
Hagel’s TD cut it to 14-7, but the Crusaders were unable to capitalize in the fourth. Seffner Christian’s defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, but a muffed punt gave the ball right back to the Seahawks (4-4). Naples then missed a short field goal, but the Crusaders threw interceptions on back-to-back possessions, with the second returned 31 yards for a sealing TD.
Crusaders linebacker Caleb Gude was taken to a hospital with an apparent neck injury in the third quarter. Lewis said Gude had feeling in all his extremities when he left in the ambulance.