LARGO — Indian Rocks Christian flipped the script Friday night as the defense earned it a 24-22 victory against Moore Haven in the Class 2A playoff game.
“Our offense usually doesn’t have any problem scoring points,” Golden Eagles coach Mark Buchanan said.
“It was nice to see our defense come through.”
It marked the first playoff victory for the Golden Eagles in 16 seasons, and they next face Naples First Baptist Academy.
The Golden Eagles forced three three-and-outs, picked off a pass, forced a fumble and had three sacks and three tackles-for-loss.
They held the Terriers to 184 yards of offense with 82 coming on Markeis Hallback’s touchdown run in the first half.
Sophomore Theo Anderson had a sack and junior Damian King a pick that snuffed out the last two drives of the first half for Moore Haven. With IRC up 17-15 in the fourth, it was Anderson with a tackle-for-loss that forced a fourth down.
Senior Taylor Cowgill then sniffed out a fake punt and forced the turnover on downs.
On its next drive, Moore Haven faced fourth and 5 from its 25 when it called a timeout.
“This is the game right here guys,” Golden Eagles assistant Jerry Wunsch said to his team.
Anderson responded with a sack of Bronson Bass as he dropped back.
But Anderson wasn’t finished.
On the next play, he powered through several tackles for an 11-yard touchdown that all but put the game away for IRC.
The Terriers closed to within 24-22 but failed to capture the onside kick, and the Golden Eagles knelt to run out the clock.
Said Anderson: “This is big because all summer … we knew we could make it this far.”