FROSTPROOF — When two teams continuously shoot themselves in the foot one has to eventually hobble away the winner.
Tampa Catholic picked up a critical 21-16 Class 3A, District 4 win over Frostproof and stayed tied with Lakeland Christian for first place in the standings after both teams combined for 220 yards of penalties Friday.
Trailing 21-8 heading into the fourth quarter, Frostproof (4-2, 1-1) railed for eight points off a safety and a 10-yard touchdown pass from Xavier Gaines to Kijana Gaines to close the gap.
Frostproof escaped into the halftime locker room only trailing 14-8 after the entire first quarter was played in Bulldogs’ territory, where they fumbled once and tossed one interception.
The Crusaders (5-1, 2-0) took advantage of the second turnover — a fumble on the 5-yard line — collecting a 1-yard touchdown run from senior quarterback Kyle Ploucher three plays later.
Tampa Catholic extended the lead to 14-0 in the second quarter when Ploucher hit Jake Romp with a 21-yard TD pass with 8:15 remaining.
“Our guys knew what was at stake,” Tampa Catholic coach Mike Gregory said. “They know what our goals were. I thought we made too many mistakes in the first quarter and we should have been up 28 in the first half.
Frostproof capitalized on an Crusaders’ fumble midway through the second quarter to close the gap to 14-8.