SARASOTA — Tampa Catholic cruised to a 43-0 victory over Cardinal Mooney in a clash of Class 3A schools Friday.
“We actually came out a little flat and made some mistakes in the first half,” Crusaders coach Mike Gregory said. “I was really disappointed with that and slow starts are something we have to fix.”
Michael Sarafianos opened scoring with a booming 47-yard field goal and it looked as if the Cougars would answer before the Crusader defense stiffened to force a punt. That was the only the real threat of the night as the Crusader defense allowed 138 yards, forced three turnovers and scored three touchdowns of their own.
“The players feed off each other so much,” Gregory said. “The defense does well and the offense wants to match that. “
Cody Endris recorded the first interception and after a penalty on the return, Kyle Ploucher found Justin Motlow for a 14-yard score.
On the ensuing possession Ryan Belfiore picked off a pass and raced 45 yards for the touchdown.
In the second half, Ploucher, who threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 66 yards, did damage with his arm and legs. Ploucher scored on a 1-yard run, connected with Darius Corbett for a 24-yard touchdown and found Tre Watson form 11 yards out.
Belfiore closed out the scoring after Danny Weldon got a sack, forcing a fumble. Belfiore scooped up the ball and scored from 9 yards out.
“We are learning to trust each other. The offense trusts the defense and we all go out and do our job,” Ploucher said.