DUNEDIN — An inch shy of 6 feet, Dunedin's Darius Bellamy weighs 220 pounds. Most of that seems to have settled in his thighs, thick slabs of muscle that enable the senior running back to trample over anyone who gets in his way.
Bellamy's power tends to make fans overlook his other blessings — quickness, agility and the kind of speed that has given a lot of defenders a long, depressing look at the back of his jersey.
Because of Bellamy, the Falcons had the attack they needed to jump out to a big lead and hold on to beat East Lake 24-17 in a Class 5A, District 9 game.
"Darius seems to rise to the occasion in big games," Dunedin coach Mark Everett said. "He did it again tonight."
On the Falcons' first possession, Bellamy had some quick-hitting runs to set up the first score, a 1-yard plunge by Kim Howard.
But Bellamy's signature moment came on his fourth carry of the game.
Running around the right end, he was trapped by a cluster of defenders, only to wiggle out of their grasp and race 68 yards for a touchdown to put Dunedin ahead 14-0.
"That run was a YouTube special," Everett said.
Bellamy's tough running opened up other things for the Falcons' offense, which added another score on Ryan Singer's 15-yard run to make it 21-0.
East Lake (3-4, 1-1) rallied as Sam Shaffer threw two touchdowns to Tyler Higbee on fade routes near the goal line.
But the Eagles were hurt by two turnovers in the fourth quarter. The first came on a fumble inside the Falcons' 10-yard line. The second came when Dunedin linebacker Bryan Morris intercepted Shaffer in the final minute to seal the game.
"You can't let any team get out to that big of a lead," East Lake coach Bob Hudson said. "We just made too many critical mistakes to win."
Bellamy closed out the game with two runs for a first down, which allowed Dunedin (6-2, 1-1) to take a knee. In all, Bellamy had 157 yards on 16 carries.
Bob Putnam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4169.