TARPON SPRINGS — Montel Johnson returned the opening kick 98 yards for a touchdown Friday and Tarpon Springs (5-4, 4-1) routed Boca Ciega 67-22 to clinch the runnerup berth in Class 5A, District 8.
Johnson added one rushing and one receiving touchdown, as well as an interception on defense.
“He’s blazing fast. He’s special,” Spongers coach Ron Hahn said.
Michael Ford chipped in 169 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries, and Patrick Miller ran for two touchdowns and recorded an interception.
Tarpon Springs led by three scores in the first quarter as Leonel Hernandez stripped the ball from Pirates quarterback Derrick Cook’s hands and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown.
Cook answered on the next possession for Boca Ciega (2-7, 1-4), hitting Jaylaan Wimbush for a 76-yard touchdown to cut the gap to 21-7, but that was as close as the Pirates would get.
A 52-yard run by Johnson, followed by a Louis Zervos field goal and a pass from Jarrett Battyanyi to Mitchell Wilcox put the Spongers up 37-7. Miller’s two scores made it 50-7 before Cook hit Saivion Smith on a 73-yard pass as time expired in the half.
Tarpon Springs opened the second half with an interception return for a score by Robert Laffey as only the running clock slowed the Spongers.
“This team has accomplished a lot. They have great character and work really hard,” Hahn said.