CLEARWATER — Countryside had lost a game this season, and Northeast hadn’t, and as a result, coming into their district showdown Friday night it was fair to ask if maybe things were changing.
And a little silly, as it turned out.
Behind its signature power rushing and a defense that hounded Northeast quarterback Ryan Davis into his worst game this season, Countryside showed — emphatically — it was still the team to beat in Class 7A, District 9 with a 49-0 triumph.
The Cougars piled up more than 300 yards of total offense against the overmatched Vikings, and held the heretofore sensational Davis to a single yard rushing and just 28 passing.
All night Mike Love and Bryan Czop harassed and harried Davis, who entered averaging more than 200 passing yards a game, as the Cougars improved to 5-1 and 2-0 in the district.
Northeast lost for the first time after a 5-0 start.
“They beat us in every phase of the game,” Northeast coach Mike Jalazo said. “Defensively, we had them a lot of the time and didn’t wrap up … so we didn’t play any defense. Offensively, we had that first drive but we shot ourselves in the foot and they schemed us well and we adjusted but we never really executed. They just beat us.”
Northeast’s first drive was its best but that stalled at the Cougar 33.
From there, Mike Jerrido ran for 53 yards on the first Cougar drive, which was capped by a short Ryan Yates touchdown run; and Yates ran for 13 on the next Countryside scoring drive, capped by a short Jerrido touchdown.
Davis was then taken down for losses on six of Northeast’s last 13 plays of the first half, and Mike Flory (10 yards) and Jerrido (1 yard) made the Vikings pay with touchdown runs.
Countryside had 179 rushing yards in the first half.
“The running game tonight was set up around the offensive line,” said Jerrido, who rushed for a game-high 122 yards on 12 carries. “They made the blocks and (fullback) Yates came in, he made the blocks and flushed it out, and made the holes huge for me.”
Northeast trailed at the half 31-7 last week and rallied to beat Tarpon Springs, but Countryside made sure its 28-0 halftime edge stood up.
Joe Ganci caught a 15-yard touchdown from Christian Strong to open the second half, and Tyler Serpo’s blocked punt four plays later led to A.J. Sattinger’s 2-yard touchdown run to make it 42-0 with barely five minutes gone in the third quarter.
An interception by Mike Johnson set up another Flory touchdown a few moments after that.
After a couple of lackluster performances by Countryside, they looked like the old-school Cougars on Friday night.
“We’ve had two bad running games,” offensive tackle Brandon Pertile said, “so we wanted to establish that tonight to let everybody know, we’re still there.”