SEMINOLE — Clearwater and Seminole both played with passion and grit Friday night, with neither team backing down. But the Tornadoes came away with the last big play as quarterback Ryan Hagen scrambled 7 yards for the winning score to seal a 24-18 Clearwater win.
The Tornados were cruising in the first half after the Warhawks scored on their opening drive. Clearwater’s stingy defense held Seminole out of the end zone after that initial score and the offense, led by Hagen, ran like clockwork, scoring toward the end of the first half on a quick 22-yard pass to junior wide receiver Allijah Graham.
“I give all the respect to them (offensive line),” said Hagen.
Seminole refused to go down without a fight in the second half.
“We told them to keep their heads up. And they worked so hard in the off-season to prepare for this game,” said Seminole coach Sam Roper.
The Warhawks played a conservative, yet effective ball-control offense led by senior work-horse running back Trevor Sands, who had 25 carries for 108 yards and three TDs. His third touchdown came after Seminole blocked a Clearwater punt and recovered it within the Tornadoes' 5-yard line. Sands bulled his way in two plays later making the score 18-17 Seminole.
“We started off pretty well. We had trouble stopping the run tonight,” said Clearwater coach Tom Bostic.
But the play of the game came with four minutes left, when the Tornadoes defense stopped the Warhawks on fourth down. Clearwater went for broke and Hagen connected with wide receiver Brandon Harvey for a 52-yard pitch and catch down to the Seminole 7, which set up the winning score. .
“We had them in third down situations and we let them out of it,” said Roper.