|Fort Myers Dunbar||13|
TAMPA — Tampa Catholic was playing arguably its best defense of the season and had allowed only 2 yards of offense. But there the Crusaders were early in the third, 15 yards from losing the lead against Fort Myers Dunbar.
But the Crusaders' defense forced a timely fumble and eventually turned back Dunbar.
Tampa Catholic's offense got standout performances from quarterback Christian Green, running back Henry McCloud and wide receiver D.J. Williams, but its defense made the difference.
The Crusaders held Dunbar (7-4), which was averaging almost four touchdowns a game, to 97 yards. Tampa Catholic forced four fumbles and intercepted two passes.
"Our defense played a whale of a game," said Tampa Catholic coach Bob Henriquez.
Tampa Catholic (9-1) built a 19-7 lead late in the second quarter before Dunbar's Tyrell Johnson returned a kickoff 97 yards to cut the margin to 19-13 just before the half. Driving deep into Tampa Catholic territory a quarter later, the Crusaders forced the key fumble, recovered by lineman Taylor Timmons, to jump-start their win.
After a 33-yard Mike Paleveda field goal early in the fourth quarter extended the Tampa Catholic lead, the Crusaders forced another fumble. Minutes later, Green hooked up with Williams on a 55-yard scoring pass.
Rod Gipson, Times correspondent