PALM HARBOR — On the surface, Jonah Fiskaa and Demetri Royer are the prototypical running back tandem.
Both are small and fast and more effective running inside. But the two bruisers also are adept at turning the corner and running along the sideline.
Their versatility gives Palm Harbor University’s offense an element of unpredictability, and they produced some big numbers in the Hurricanes’ 49-21 victory Friday over rival Tarpon Springs.
Fiskaa ran for 167 yards and two touchdowns, while Royer added 66 yards and a score. They were part of a rushing attack that used six ballcarriers and produced 356 yards.
With so many backs and so many options, the biggest problem for PHU is that there is only one ball.
“It’s a nice problem to have,” Hurricanes coach Matt Lepain said. “I’ll take those kind of numbers. The only thing I was getting frustrated with was that we were scoring too quickly. I needed my defense to get in a breather every now and then.”
Much like last year’s meeting, which the Spongers won 37-31, this one was a high-scoring affair. But it was PHU that was doing most of it early on.
The Hurricanes (5-2, 1-0) scored first as quarterback Brevet Killett burst around the end on a 48-yard run for a 7-0 first-quarter lead. Royer added a 12-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0.
Michael Ford, who entered the game as the county’s leading rusher, scored on runs of 12 and 9 yards in the second quarter to keep Tarpon (3-4, 1-1) in the game. But those scores were sandwiched between a 5-yard touchdown run by Fiskaa and a 68-yard pass from Tyler Kaminski to Shane Dixon to give the ’Canes a 28-14 lead at the half.
Kaminski, who missed the past two games for violating team rules, entered in the second quarter and finished 4-of-6 for 126 yards.
“My plan was to bring in Tyler in the second quarter and go with whoever had the hot hand at quarterback after that,” Lepain said. “Brevet would have played more but he tweaked a groin. I’m happy with both.”
In the third quarter, things started to unravel for the Spongers. They lost two fumbles, including one inside PHU’s 5-yard line, and muffed a punt. The Hurricanes capitalized as Fiskaa and Kaminski each ran for scores and John Tauber returned the muffed put 17 yards for a touchdown to make it 49-14.
Tarpon Springs’ Montel Johnson rounded out the scoring on a 10-yard run in the fourth quarter.
By then, the outcome was decided. PHU racked up 504 yards of offense and scored more than 30 points for the second straight week. If the Hurricanes win next week against North Port, they secure their second straight winning season and playoff berth.
“That’s what is important,” PHU senior linebacker Quentin Cumings said of the postseason.
The Spongers, meanwhile, have given up 40 points or more in their past three games, all losses.