INVERNESS — The Fivay Falcons flew into Citrus County soaring with confidence Friday night. But it didn't take long for them to realize they had flown into a strong head wind in the Citrus Hurricanes.
By the time the Falcons (7-3) got their bearings, the Hurricanes (5-5) had put up 14 points in the first 11 minutes and held a 21-6 lead at the break.
Fivay, however, emerged for the second half a different team. Unfortunately three big penalties and two turnovers eventually grounded the Falcons. And none was bigger than the final dagger that came with 58 seconds left in the game, when Citrus cornerback Paris Wilcox intercepted Fivay quarterback Tyler Degen's pass in the end zone.
The interception, which sealed a 28-20 win for Citrus, was exceptionally sweet for Wilcox, who was playing in the final game of his prep career. The Hurricanes were led by Darius Chapes, who rushed for a game-high 201 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns.
"We came into this game tonight extremely overconfident and they knocked us around really good in the first half," Fivay coach Chris Taylor said. "Give them all the credit. They came out and punched us straight in the mouth in that first half and it wasn't until then that we woke up. We fought back and made it a football game in the second half."
On Fivay's second possession of the third quarter, Degen engineered an eight-play scoring drive that ended on a 1-yard touchdown run by Zach Russell (11 carries for 79 yards). With the Falcons fighting to get back in the game the Hurricanes' special teams came up with a blocked punt that was recovered by Kyle Tobin, who scampered in to the end zone to give Citrus a 28-12 lead.
Fivay answered on the ensuing kickoff when James Bullock broke containment and returned the ball to the Citrus 24. Five plays later Degan forced his way into the end zone on a 1-yard run. The Falcons converted the two-point conversion and found themselves down by just one score.
With time running out Vic Taylor stripped the ball from a Citrus runner on the 37-yard line with 2:35 left. Degen delivered two great passes that gave the ball to Fivay in Citrus territory. When Davion Sutton broke free on two big runs the Falcons appeared poised to score.
Wilcox thwarted those plans when he read Degen's pass perfectly and cut in front of the Falcons receiver in the end zone.