TAMPA — Z Cobra, a play Durant often uses on third and long, is designed to pick up first downs. Friday night, it helped the Cougars pick up an impressive win.
With his team trailing by one, Durant quarterback Je'Twan Smith took a snap from the Sickles 11, rolled to his right and threw the ball into the end zone, where David Claypool made a diving touchdown catch with 28.9 seconds left to propel the Cougars to an eye-opening 20-15 win.
"When he caught it, I was so happy," Smith said.
Claypool's score capped a wild fourth quarter.
When the final frame began, Durant led 14-3 and appeared in control. But on the first play of the fourth, Sickles quarterback John Melvin Hendrick (14 of 21, 232 yards) hit Chris Nahat (10 catches for 185 yards) for a 42-yard gain to the Durant 28. Two plays later, Hendrick completed a 25-yard touchdown to Brieann Dollard. Following the failed 2-point conversion attempt, it was 14-9.
After Durant (6-1) went three and out on offense, the Gryphons (5-2) quickly marched downfield and went ahead 15-14 on Hendrick's 35-yard strike to Nahat.
Durant took over with 6:02 left from the Cougars 20 and promptly faced a crucial third and 5. On that play, Smith, who threw for 81 yards and ran for 71, lofted a perfect pass to Claypool for a 27-yard gain into Sickles territory.
Thanks to strong rushing plays from Smith and Antonio Morris (22 carries, 103 yards), Durant moved into field-goal position. But with time winding down and the wind swirling, the Cougars gambled by going for six.
On their scoring play, Claypool ran 15 yards, stopped, turned toward Smith and broke to the sideline away from his defender.
"I really wanted it," Claypool said. "We deserved to win that game."