CLEARWATER — Dunedin and Countryside offered the equivalent of two cyclists pedaling furiously downhill, two rafts bouncing wildly downstream, two teams that glared into each other's eyes, took 10 paces, whirled — and scored on each other.
All night long.
In a Class 5A, District 9 game that saw a barrage of big plays and left both defenses wobbly, the Cougars came up with the most in a 49-34 victory Friday. It is the first time the two-time defending champion Falcons have lost a district game in three seasons.
"It was one of those games where you just hold your breath the whole time," Countryside coach John Davis said.
The Cougars (3-1, 1-0) grabbed the momentum early. Quarterback Jimbo Chmelik threw a 10-yard touchdown to Jalen Goodloe, and Richard Shockley and Terry Johnson each scored on short runs to put Countryside up 21-0.
"We got in a big hole right from the start," Dunedin coach Mark Everett said. "We played catchup the rest of the way."
The Falcons (3-1, 0-1) made enough big plays to get back in the game. Ryan Singer scored on a 28-yard run. The Cougars countered on Chmelik's 10-yard touchdown pass to Todd Shorter.
Dunedin responded with two quick scores on a 15-yard pass from Singer to Emmitt Emery and a 3-yard run from Bellamy to cut the deficit to 28-20 at the half.
At the start of the third quarter, the Falcons pinned Countryside at its 2-yard line, forced a punt and scored on a 14-yard run by Bellamy. The two-point conversion failed to make it 28-26.
The Cougars marched 74 yards on a pivotal drive that was capped by Dawrence Roberts' 1-yard TD run.
Dunedin never recovered.
The Cougars tacked on a 1-yard run by Johnson, and a 66-yard run by Roberts put the game out of reach.