CLEARWATER — Clearwater Central Catholic may be a little banged up, but the Marauders are hitting the playoffs with a lot of momentum.
CCC erased the sour taste of last week's overtime loss to IMG Academy and shut down a dual-threat Anclote running attack with a 37-14 homecoming victory.
"This was a huge game for us," said Marauders coach John Davis. "We couldn't let last week multiply into two losses in a row."
Despite missing freshman C.J. Cotman and senior Diquan Walker, then losing Demetri Royer to a possible broken collarbone, CCC (8-2) held Anclote (6-4) to just 115 rushing yards and 148 overall.
Losing quarterback Brandon Vinkler early (left ankle) may have hurt Anclote, but the Marauders' D was staunch, picking off three passes and forcing a fumble that led to a safety.
Prolific back Willie Barrett (1,024 yards this year) struggled for 56 tough yards Friday while Trent Crawford (now at 973 yards) picked up 61 yards on 17 carries.
And even with depleted ranks, CCC's spread-the-wealth running game clicked to the tune of 296 yards led by senior Eric Davis (76 yards on nine carries) and Conner Dorris (59 yards, two TDs).
"We stay on our assignments and let the running backs do their job," said right tackle Anthony Walker. "We're really coached up well and we know exactly what we're going to execute."
And on top of a big victory, Walker was voted homecoming king.
"I found our right at halftime," he said. "It's a surprise and I didn't think I'd win but it's a great honor."
Chuck Frye, Times correspondent