WESLEY CHAPEL — Steinbrenner rallied from a 10-point deficit Friday night to knock off Class 7A, District 7 foe Wiregrass Ranch 27-20.
The Warriors (2-5, 1-2) trailed 17-7 going into halftime, but halfback Shaheem Barthel made sure it didn’t stay that way. The senior led Steinbrenner’s furious comeback, scoring two of his three touchdowns in the third quarter.
“I had to lead my team to victory,” said Barthel, who finished with 128 total yards. “We’ve been on a losing streak and we’re trying to give ourselves at least a hope at the playoffs.”
Wiregrass (3-4, 0-3) fumbled on its own 15-yard line on the opening play of the second half, setting up an easy 5-yard touchdown run for Barthel to start the comeback.
Then, after Bryce Wilson gave the Bulls a 20-14 lead with a 40-yard field goal midway through the third quarter, Steinbrenner responded with a 45-yard TD pass from Quentin Poteralski to Barthel to cap a 12-play drive and tie the game at 20, swinging momentum back to its sideline.
Poteralski, who entered the game in the third after starter Curtis Fitch went down with an injury, called his own number with just more than nine minutes left in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard run to give the Warriors a lead they would not relinquish.
“I practice every day to get ready when I get my shot,” Poteralski said. “It came time and I just tried to do my best.”
Senior running back Gerald Grady led Wiregrass with 119 all-purpose yards and one touchdown.