SEMINOLE — It took some skill and a little luck for Indian Rocks Christian to slip past Carrollwood Day 14-6 on a stormy Friday night.
The skill was the Golden Eagles’ running game, which racked up 249 yards and two touchdowns, and their defense, which surrendered only 14 rushing yards.
The luck came in the fourth quarter, when the Patriots fumbled in the end zone after a long pass play that would have tied the game.
“It’s always like this when we play these guys,” IRC coach Mark Buchanan said. “It seems like there’s a few big plays that make the difference.”
After a 30-minute lightning delay, both teams looked rusty in the first half. They traded punts and missed field goals and there was no score at halftime.
But the Golden Eagles put together an eight-play, 54 yard drive in the third quarter. Zeke McGaughy carved through the Patriots’ defense, but the score went to Theo Anderson. On third and 1, Anderson ran 5 yards up the middle. Riley Hammil’s extra point made it 7-0.
Carrollwood Day (0-2) came back in the fourth quarter when quarterback Taylor King hit Elias Early on a 24-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was no good. Seconds later Damian King ran 71 yards to make it 14-6.
Then came the luck.
With four minutes remaining, King hit Mike Smith down the right sideline. IRC defender Cedric Galloway misjudged the pass, and Smith was free to run untouched. But yards before the goal line, Galloway raced up to knock the ball from Smith’s hands.
Tristan Denisac, who was running from the left sideline, corralled the ball for IRC just before it went out of the end zone for a touchback.
“I got it about 2 inches before it went out of bounds,” Denisac said.
CDS had one last drive, but it ended on downs when Chris Parish sacked King on fourth and 15. IRC, which finished second to the Patriots in district play last season, takes the early lead in Class 2A-5.
“We just made too many mistakes,” CDS coach Lane McLaughlin said. “We fumbled three times, couldn’t block anyone, had some stupid penalties, dropped a kickoff. Lots of stuff we have to work on.”
McGaughy and King had 99 yards rushing each to pace the Golden Eagles (1-1).