BRADENTON — Maybe it was the accident on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge that left Clearwater Central Catholic 20 minutes to warm up.
Maybe it was having just two days to prepare for a televised Thursday night game.
Maybe it was not having playmakers CJ Cotman and Diquan Walker available for the second half.
Whatever the reason, the Marauders were not themselves against IMG Academy, especially when it mattered most.
CCC (7-2, 4-0) had the lead and a chance to put the game away when it allowed a 99-yard scoring drive that tied the score. In overtime, the Marauders continued their self-destruction with an interception on their opening drive before allowing Ascenders running back Mike Daniel to score on a 10-yard run in a 19-13 loss.
“We were discombobulated,” CCC coach John Davis said. “It’s Halloween. Blame it on that.”
In the first half, the Marauders appeared in control. Cotman scored on a 34-yard run in the first quarter to give CCC a 7-0 lead. The Marauders made it 10-0 in the second quarter after a 38-yard field goal by Yanni Ramos.
IMG, meanwhile, was struggling on offense. That was due in large part to the absence of running back Bo Scarbrough, an Alabama recruit who missed the game with a leg injury. The Ascenders managed just one first down and had minus-10 yards rushing in the first half.
In the third quarter, IMG caught its first break with a recovered fumble off a bad snap on a punt. The Ascenders turned that turnover into points as quarterback Michael O’Connor scored on a 1-yard sneak to cut the deficit to 10-7.
In the fourth quarter, Kyle Brittain intercepted a pass and Ramos hit a 30-yard field goal to give CCC a 13-7 lead.
The Marauders had a chance to put the game away on their next possession. But Conner Dorris fumbled at the 1-yard line, giving IMG life.
Brittain then appeared to seal the game with his second interception returned for a touchdown. But the interception and score were wiped away on a pass interference penalty. The Ascenders then went on a 14-play, 99-yard drive that ended with O’Connor hitting Casey Gunderson on a 9-yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked by Caanan Brown to send the game to overtime.
That set up Davis’ winning run for IMG.
CCC’s two losses have both come in overtime by a combined nine points.
“We made a lot of mistakes and had some stupid penalties,” Davis said. “But I’m proud of the way the guys hung in there and played. Despite all the things that went wrong, we still had a chance to win.”