TAMPA — Armwood all but wrapped up the Class 4A, District 9 title Friday night.
On the back of junior running back Matt Jones — who had 136 yards rushing, 39 receiving yards and four touchdowns — the Hawks pulled away in the second half to beat Hillsborough 34-15.
"We think we're district champions," said Armwood coach Sean Callahan, whose team only has East Bay (1-6, 0-2) remaining in district play. "Technically, we have to win one more game, but we feel like we've beaten the top two teams in Hillsborough and King."
The Hawks (6-0, 2-0), who led 21-0 at halftime thanks in large part to two touchdowns by Jones, had to fight off a late rally by the Terriers (5-2, 1-1). On back-to-back possessions in the third quarter, Hillsborough quarterback Jeremy Agrinzonis rushed for a 6-yard touchdown, then connected with wide receiver Evan Jennings for a 69-yard score to cut the lead to 21-15.
Jones, however, answered with two more rushing touchdowns to put the game out of reach. Armwood outgained Hillsborough 395-291 in total yards and 244-37 in rushing yards.
"This is big because I know a lot of these (Hillsborough) boys," Jones. "We're district champs."
After the game, Jones wore a hard hat given to him by teammates.
For good reason, Callahan said.
"He loves playing Hillsborough," Callahan said. "We hope he treats everybody like Hillsborough because when he finishes runs like that he's pretty impressive."
Armwood got out to a fast start when senior quarterback Josh Grady rushed for a 15-yard touchdown on the Hawks' fourth play of the game. Then Hillsborough opened the door by fumbling twice in a span of a minute to set up Jones' first two touchdowns. The Terriers lost three fumbles on the night.