CLEARWATER — The night belonged to the team that had success in the red zone. Countryside picked up two Diomi Roberts 1-yard scores, while Clearwater struggled to capitalize as the Cougars earned a 21-6 victory Friday.
The teams battled in the first half with neither gaining much ground. Quarterback Gray Crow threw an interception in the end zone on Countryside’s first possession. A couple plays later, the Cougars’ Terry Johnson blasted Clearwater quarterback Ryan Hagen while
Hagen ran an option play and Hagen did not return.
A 28-yard pass from Crow to Nico Morgado set up Countryside’s lone first-half touchdown when Roberts forced his way in from 1-yard out.
“We were slacking at first on offense, but we picked it up toward the end,” said Countryside’s Terry Johnson.
Robert Yarbrough filled in nicely for Hagen, but the offense sputtered in the red zone. A cut block penalty followed by a fumble kept the Tornadoes scoreless in the first half.
Crow threw another interception, allowing Clearwater in the red zone again. Yarbrough gave it right back with an interception .
Countryside (6-0, 2-0) came out strong in the second half, running six times and ending in Johnson’s 1-yard touchdown.
“We had to continue to wear them down,” said Countryside coach Jared Davis. “We put it on them and we told our kids we were going to be physical.”
Clearwater (4-2, 0-2) answered with a screen to Bennie Niles, who ran 34 yards to the Countryside 7. Yarbrough threw a 15-yard touchdown to Jon Hogan to cut the lead to 14-6 .
Countryside put it away when Roberts scampered 33 yards and set up his second touchdown two plays later.