Countryside 35, East Lake 21

TARPON SPRINGS — Todd Shorter, a wide receiver, threw a 41-yard pass to Jalen Goodloe on the first play of the game.

Jimbo Chmelik, a quarterback, ran for a 45-yard touchdown.

And Alton Taylor, a running back, threw the first touchdown of his career, a 60-yarder to Shorter.

It was that kind of night for the usually stout East Lake defense.

"I think you had two pretty evenly-matched teams tonight," said Countryside coach John Davis. "We just had the bigger plays."

The Cougars scored on three plays longer than 40 yards in clinching their first district title since 2005, rolling to a 35-21 victory in a Class 5A, District 8 tilt.

East Lake (5-3) can still advance to the playoffs as the district runnerup with a win next week over Dunedin. But a loss, combined with a Clearwater win over Palm Harbor University, could knock them out. A Dunedin and PHU win would force a three-way tiebreaker.

Countryside (8-1) has no worries after piling up 367 yards of offense and jumping out to a 28-7 halftime lead.

The Cougars scored on their first four possessions, with Taylor scoring on a 1-yard run (his team-record 25th this season) to open scoring and Brenton Conley running 56 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0.

After Jamaal Wilburn scored for East Lake, Countryside delivered two crushing blows — a short touchdown pass from Chmelik to Tyler Walker, and Chmelik's touchdown run four plays later.

"I think everybody had a key play tonight," said Taylor, who ran for a hard 108 yards on 25 carries and threw his game-clinching touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The barrage of big plays overshadowed a fine effort by East Lake's Wilburn, who needed 199 yards to break 1,000 for the season — he got 231, to go along with two touchdowns.

But the Eagles were only 7-for-29 passing, and 44 of their 91 yards through the air came on a fruitless final drive.

Countryside35
East Lake21

Countryside 35, East Lake 21 10/31/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 31, 2009 1:32am]

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