Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Sports

Football: Clearwater Central Catholic 7, Miami Westminster Christian 0

CLEARWATER — Clearwater Central Catholic and Miami Westminster Christian displayed fancy formations and explosive playmakers, all founded on run production.

And no one had a more memorable carry in Friday's Class 3A state semifinal than the Marauders' Diquan Walker. With 39 seconds remaining in a scoreless game, the senior running back took a pitch, followed a convoy of blockers and dove just inside the pylon on a 23-yard touchdown to lift CCC to a 7-0 victory.

The Marauders (11-2) advance to their first state championship game and will play Jacksonville Trinity Christian (11-1) on Dec. 7 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

"It was the scariest play of my life," Walker said. "I didn't think anything would be there. But I had great blocking and it turned out to be the greatest moment I've ever had."

Both teams ran the ball with vigor throughout the game. Lineman and linebackers stepped forward to stop them. Even pass defenders were cheating toward the line of scrimmage in support of run defense.

It was basic, old-school football that featured big-time runners who had a hard time gaining any traction. CCC's best play of the second half came at the end when it drove from its 44-yard line to Westminster's 23.

At the time, Davis was thinking more about pounding the ball up the middle to grind up a few yards, as well as most of the clock before settling on a potential winning field goal.

But after a timeout, he decided to take a chance with the sweep.

"I honestly didn't think I was going to get the ball at the end," Walker said. "I thought we were just playing for the field goal. But Coach is an all-or-nothing kind of guy and he went big there and it paid off."

In the first half the Marauders wasted their best scoring opportunity when Jeff Smith rolled out on first and goal from the 5-yard line and threw an interception in the end zone.

"It was tough because I made a big mistake," Smith said. "But I knew not to get down because my teammates would have my back."

The defense was particularly big in stopping a Westminster team that entered averaging 40 points and 467 yards per game. CCC allowed just 177 yards and held the Warriors scoreless for the first time all season.

Westminster quarterback Hunter Boyett, who had thrown for 2,767 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, was 5-of-16 for 38 yards Friday night.

Boyett couldn't stay comfortable in the pocket due to a fierce pass rush by the Marauders, who recorded four sacks — two by defensive lineman and Florida recruit Justus Reed.

It was the defense that came through — again — after Walker scored. Westminster got the ball back at its 33-yard line with 33 seconds remaining. Boyett threw two incomplete passes before being intercepted on third down by Blake Gomez, CCC's former starting quarterback who moved to receiver and was playing defensive back at the end of game in place of an injured Demetri Royer (broken collarbone).

"It felt like the ball just came down from heaven," Gomez said. "JT (Steele) made a great play and the ball fell into my hands. I couldn't ask for a better way to end a game like this."

All the Marauders had to do after that was to take a knee — then celebrate.

The win means CCC coach John Davis will be in his first state championship game in his 20th season as a head coach in Pinellas County.

"I'm walking on a cloud right now," Davis said. "This is the dream of every kid or coach who has ever been involved in high school football. I'm just so fortunate to have the opportunity to get there.

"But this moment isn't for me. It's for these kids. We may not be the best team. But this team has heart and gave everything it had to win this game."

Comments
Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

The Rays made official after Monday's game that CF Kevin Kiermaier would be activated on Tuesday.And to make room on the 40- and 25 man rosters, they designated for assignment OF Rob Refsnyder.Acquired from the Indians for cash considerations just be...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

HOUSTON — The Rays brought up several of their top prospects so they can get as much experience as possible.And Monday that included seeing how the relentless defending champion Astros worked their way back from an early four-run deficit to sco...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

HOUSTON — Well before the idea of using a reliever to open games, as the Rays did against the Astros Monday for the 12th time, and then bringing in a starter was even a gleam in the eyes of the current Rays staff, former manager Lou Piniella wa...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

RHP Ryne Stanek continues to look comfortable and confident as the game opener, retiring all five batters he faced. His six starts now cover a complete game, and he has allowed only two runs in the nine innings.OF Carlos Gomez's feelings about not li...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Tuesday, June 19

TODAYBaseballOrioles at Nationals7 p.m.MLBRays at Astros8 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Giants10 p.m.FSFDiamondbacks at Angels10 p.m.ESPNCollege baseball, World SeriesFlorida vs. Texas2 p.m.ESPNTexas Tech vs. Arkansas7 p.m.ESPNGolfPGA Professionals c...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

TAMPA — Iceland isn't what it used to be. Literally. The Nordic island country is shrinking, what with global warming. Iceland's glaciers are getting smaller. If you took all that ice and laid it end to end, well, you clearly have nothing bette...
Published: 06/18/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, trying to stop a streaking champion

For starters: Rays at Astros, trying to stop a streaking champion

UPDATE, 6:40: Cash said he had a good talk with Hechavarria, and that he understood the situation. Cash said Hechavarria will get to play some, and when he does it will be at short. … RHP Chris Archer (abdominal strain) is slated to throw a bul...
Published: 06/18/18
Kevin Kiermaier set to rejoin Rays Tuesday

Kevin Kiermaier set to rejoin Rays Tuesday

CF Kevin Kiermaier is here in Houston and will work out with the Rays today, and said that if all goes well he will be activated on Tuesday.That would be a couple days ahead of his most recent timetable, which had him slated to return to Friday.Kierm...
Published: 06/18/18

Captain’s Corner: Tips on targeting American Red Snapper

American Red Snapper (ARS) season opened a few days ago and some types of bottom are holding bigger schools of ARS then other bottom types. The hard bottom areas that most fishermen prefer are holding large schools of ARS, but the fish have yet to m...
Published: 06/18/18
Barry Trotz resigns as coach of Stanley Cup-winning Capitals

Barry Trotz resigns as coach of Stanley Cup-winning Capitals

Barry Trotz abruptly stepped down as coach of the Washington Capitals on Monday after failing to agree to terms on a new contract, a stunning move that left the newly minted Stanley Cup champions without a coach with the draft later this week and wit...
Published: 06/18/18