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TAMPA — Karel Hamilton’s sensational effort on a 19-yard touchdown reception broke a fourth-quarter tie and gave Strawberry Crest (2-1) a 21-14 comeback win at Steinbrenner.
The Warriors had a chance to score late but stalled out at around the Chargers’ 20-yard line. Four turnovers doomed Steinbrenner after it looked like the host might win comfortably early on.
Though Steinbrenner (1-2) took a 14-7 lead on Curtis Fitch’s 38-yard TD pass to Jake Carroll right after halftime, not much else went its way. The Warriors fumbled on their next two drives. A sack by Jarrett Gretebeck forced the ball out and Brendon Headley recovered. Two plays later Tristan Hyde found his brother, Josh, on a 5-yard scoring toss to tie.
The Chargers won despite committing 13 penalties for 115 yards. On their first attempt at a go-ahead drive they reached the 10-yard line only to end up punting from the 37 due to infractions. One overturned a 25-yard Hyde-to-Austin Carswell TD.
But early in the fourth Hamilton’s catch and run, where he broke several tackles and carried three defenders across the goal line, capped a 75-yard march. Hyde completed 6-of-8 passes on the drive and for the night went 18-of-38 for 214 yards.
Hyde was intercepted three times, twice by Tyler McClain. Josh Hyde caught six passes for 73 yards while Carswell had five grabs covering 65 yards with a first-half score.
Kendall Pearcey led the Warriors’ offense with 89 yards on 16 carries including a 34-yard sprint for a 7-0 lead. Field position for the drive was created earlier on a beautiful play by Trey Johnson, who downed Chandler Phillips’ punt at the 1-foot line.
Carroll added 52 yards running for Steinbrenner and Fitch threw for 120 on 9-of-15 accuracy. Chris Perez was the lone ball carrier for the Chargers, gaining 50 yards in 18 attempts.
After having just one first down on their first five possessions the Chargers got it going as Hyde completed four straight passes to cover 50 yards, the last 18 going to Carswell for the tying score 1:17 before halftime.
The Chargers defense was lifted by the return from injury of standout linebacker Andrew Zuluaga.