BELLE GLADE — After being blown out by Glades Day in last year's playoffs, Indian Rocks Christian coach Mark Buchanan felt good about being tied with the Gators after three quarters.
But the fourth quarter was all Glades Day (6-5) as the Golden Eagles (9-2) lost 35-21 in a Class A region semifinal Friday night.
"I liked our chances late in the game, but we just didn't have an answer," Buchanan said. "They outplayed us, and their depth got us in the fourth quarter."
The Gators forced three turnovers in the fourth to pull away.
"We've had some tough games this year, and we've lost some real heartbreakers, but our kids wanted another week," said Glades Day coach Pete Walker, whose team advances to next week's region final vs. Fort Meade, a 34-7 winner over Evangelical Christian.
IRC trailed 7-6 at halftime, but after the Gators went up 14-6 on a 4-yard run by Kelvin Taylor (189 yards, three touchdowns), the Golden Eagles answered. Leo Mason had a 3-yard TD run after Jonny Sitton returned a kickoff 73 yards.
"They capitalized on some of our mistakes," said Sitton, who had 178 yards. "We fought hard, but they fought harder."
The Gators took a 21-14 lead on an 8-yard pass from Bo Schlechter to De-Andres Jackson in the final quarter. Then Jackson picked off by IRC quarterback Blake Farver on the next possession.
Two plays later, Taylor, the son of Jaguars running back Fred Taylor, scored on a 4-yard run to give the Gators a 28-14 lead.
"That was a demoralizing play," Buchanan said.