CLEARWATER— In a back-and-forth game, the Tornadoes held on Thursday for a 27-20 victory over Pinellas Park.
"The kids didn't quit," Tornadoes coach Tom Bostic said. "They just kept fighting and coming back."
Pinellas Park (3-4) put up the first points on a 12-yard pass from Jesse Hevia to Cody Nowakowski. Hevia finished 9-of-22 with 110 yards and two touchdowns.
Clearwater responded with a quick touchdown from quarterback Ryan Hagen to Jeremiah George for 10 yards. The Patriots fumbled the kick return on the next play, allowing Clearwater's Mitchell Palmer to scoop it up and run in for a touchdown. Clearwater led 13-7 at the half.
The Patriots came out of halftime to take the lead. Hevia threw to Kylieel Robinson for a 10-yard touchdown. Clearwater (5-2) responded with a 67-yard touchdown by Jeremiah George. He rushed for 154 of the team's 163 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown in the fourth.
"I just kept my arms pumping and my legs moving," George said. "Tonight's game was great. It was a hard-fought battle."
The Patriots pulled ahead 20-19 in the fourth after a 1-yard rush by Oraian Bentley.
In the end, it came down to ball control. On its second-to-last possession, Pinellas Park fumbled at the 20. Two plays later Clearwater fumbled at the 21, but the Patriots weren't able to capitalize.