CLEARWATER — Clearwater Central Catholic is a perennial power and Clearwater Academy International is playing its first year of 11-on-11 football. But though CCC won Friday's meeting 53-18, that score does not do justice of the fight that the Knights put up. It was back-and-forth in the first half and Clearwater Academy was very aggressive, going for it on fourth down every on every opportunity, but the Knights turned the ball over on downs three of their first four possessions.
Clearwater Academy stacked the box and left man-on-man coverage with no safety help over top. CCC quarterback Jakob Parks took advantage as he connected on a 19-yard touchdown with his running back Jervon Newton on the game's opening score.
Clearwater Academy cut the lead to 7-6 on a 1-yard rushing score by Mike Smart, but CCC answered with a 54-yard touchdown strike by Parks to Kevon Musgrove.
Clearwater Academy quarterback Janiero Crankfield scored on a 14-yard run and threw a screen pass to Lucas Buensoz for a 62-yard score in the first half. CCC then opened up the playbook as running back Newton tossed a 67-yard touchdown to Amari Burney.
CCC lead 30-18 at the half, then piled it in the second half with 23 straight points.
Key drive: It was just a one-play drive, but it put Clearwater Academy out of the game. Parks hit wide receiver CJ Cotman, who broke away from a defender on the corner route for a 56-yard touchdown and a 38-19 advantage.
Play of the game: Kennedy Roberts' 62-yard fumble recovery. With the lead secured in the fourth quarter, Clearwater Academy running back Keyvone Lee fumbled the ball and Roberts caught it in the air. He took the ball to the end zone with several teammates blocking.
Stars of the game: Crankfield was 8-for-15 passing for 87 yards and a touchdown and ran 13 times for 65 yards and a score. On defense, Crankfield had the assignment of covering CCC's star wide receiver Amari Burney, and came down with two interceptions on jump balls. … Parks was just 4-for-14 passing with two interceptions, but he threw for 161 yards and three of his completions went for touchdowns. … Buensoz caught five passes for 104 yards and a score. He also had a 30-yard rush on a reverse.
Stat of the game: Clearwater Academy committed a whopping 18 penalties.
Final word: "It was really close at the beginning. In the second half, we just got it together. We started pulling away. They couldn't match our intensity in the second half." — CCC cornerback Rashaad Stewart