SEMINOLE — Admiral Farragut quarterback Dalton Collins spent most of the night gouging Indian Rocks Christian's defense with big runs. But on the biggest play of the game, it was Collins' arm that did the damage.
Trailing by four and facing a fourth-and-goal from the 6-yard line Friday, Collins scrambled and hit Jestin Green in the left corner of the end zone with just more than two minutes remaining that eventually gave the Blue Jackets a 17-14 win. It was the first win for Collins as the AFA quarterback and the first for new coach Ryan Hearn.
"It was a designed slant and Jestin had a great read," said Collins, who had 47 yards rushing and 87 passing. "He bent his route out and we scored. I got excited when I saw that."
Indian Rocks Christian (1-2) picked up two first downs on its final drive and drove to the AFA 37. But an incomplete pass, a 1-yard run, a 2-yard pass and an incompletion on fourth down ended the game.
The Blue Jackets' final drive was almost doomed. They moved to the IRC 9-yard line but an illegal motion penalty made it second down from the 14. Collins then hit Napoleon Maxwell, who was tackled at the 1.
On third and goal from the 1, AFA was called for consecutive 5-yard penalties that moved the ball back to the 11. Collins ran 5 yards on third down, which set up the winning pass.
"Our guys battled, and that's the thing I'm most proud about," Hearn said. "We went down in the fourth quarter and they could have just handed the game to them. But they didn't. This was all about the kids."
Scoring did not come easily for either team. It wasn't until late in the second quarter that the Blue Jackets broke a scoreless tie with a 49-yard field goal by Sean Young.
On their next possession, Collins scored on a 25-yard scramble that included at least three broken tackles. AFA led 10-0 at halftime.
"Honestly, I don't remember much of it," Collins said. "I just wanted to keep running and running."
IRC got back in the game in the third quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run by Theo Anderson. He struck with five minutes left when he scored on a 1-yard run. That drive was set up by Garrett Ross Johnson's 30-yard pass to Ryan Ferguson that made it first and goal at the 1.
The Blue Jackets (1-1) then relied on running back Cortavious Givens. He picked up key first downs on the final drive and finished with 17 carries for 109 yards.
"I told the coaches at the beginning of the week to feed me the ball," Givens said. "They couldn't stop me at all. It was just that easy. I just needed the ball and I was going to run somebody over."
IRC coach Mark Buchanan was impressed with Givens and Collins.
"We knew about Cortavious, and he's a great back," Buchanan said. "We didn't know anything about Dalton. I told him after the game that he didn't beat us with his arm, he beat us with his legs."