HOLIDAY — Tarpon Springs coach Ron Hawn wanted a trophy to play for in the program’s newfound rivalry with Anclote. He found an anchor at an antique store that he sandblasted and placed on a plaque.
The Spongers spent Friday night making sure they kept it.
Led by a balanced attack, Tarpon Springs scored on every possession of the first half and cruised to a 50-10 victory in which a running clock was used during the fourth quarter.
“The way the offense moved the ball, it was fun,” Hawn said. “We did some good things on both sides of the ball. But we have a lot to clean up, especially if we want to compete for a district title.”
While both teams have tried to build a rivalry because of their proximity (about 5 miles apart), there hasn’t been much of one. In three meetings (two preseason games, one playoff game), the Spongers have outscored the Sharks by a combined 109-13.
Friday, Tarpon Springs wasted little time establishing control. On their opening possession, the Spongers scored on a 9-yard run by Michael Ford.
Ford scored again, on an 8-yard run, to put Tarpon Springs ahead 14-0.
The Spongers used the rest of the half to show off their balance, racking up 343 yards of offense to build a 33-3 lead. Brandon Casler was 8-of-10 for 139 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. Two touchdowns went to tight end Mitch Wilcox, a USF recruit who finished the half with four receptions for 70 yards.
Anclote’s only score of the half came on a 28-yard field goal by Brad Orth.
In the second half, Louis Zervos hit a 31-yard field goal and Casler hit Daniel Davis on a 38-yard touchdown to make it 43-3 and prompt the running clock.
At the start the fourth quarter, Anclote’s Jonte Scott returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. Davis answered by returning the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown to cap the scoring.
Davis, a transfer from Gibbs, finished with 114 yards receiving and 58 rushing and scored three times. On his two touchdown receptions, he eluded several defenders on his way to the end zone.
Ford finished with 165 yard rushing.
“The offense did was it’s supposed to do,” Ford said. “We have a lot of weapons, and we used them, which makes things easier for me.”
Contact Bob Putnam at email@example.com. Follow @BobbyHomeTeam.