WESLEY CHAPEL — Two first-half turnovers and a fourth-quarter fumble were the deciding factors in the 31-28 Wiregrass Ranch loss to Clearwater Central Catholic on Friday.
"We made critical mistakes that first half which cost us this football game," Bulls coach Jeremy Shobe said. "We definitely battled with field position for the first part of the game."
CCC (4-1) kicked off the game by recovering an onside kick, which set them up in Wiregrass territory. It eventually led to a 4-yard Blair Vaughn score. Later in the first quarter CCC recovered a fumble on the Bulls' 22- yard line that led to a 32-yard Blake Myergaard field goal. And then once more at the end of the second quarter the Marauders recovered a fumble on the Bulls' 40, leading to another Vaughn touchdown from 11 yards out.
Wiregrass retaliated on a 16-yard Nick Lomba TD run, but the Bulls (3-2) faced a 24-7 deficit going into halftime.
I am just really proud of the way our team responded tonight and found a way to come back and make this a classic hard-fought football game," Shobe said.
The Bulls game within a field goal of the Marauders, outscoring them in the second half 21-7. Lomba led the charge, scoring twice in the third quarter. Lomba finished the night with 152 yards on 13 rushes and three scores before getting hurt in the fourth quarter.
Wiregrass was moving the chains during the final two minutes — including a fake field goal on fourth down — but turned the ball over at midfield. CCC went three and out, pinned the Bulls on their own 1-yard line and held them as time ran out.