OCALA —East Lake has the momentum it wanted for its big game next week with Largo.
The Eagles (3-1) forced five turnovers and held Ocala Trinity Catholic to 168 yards of offense on their way to a 31-7 win Friday night.
East Lake avenged last year's loss to the Celtics, who made the Class 3A state semifinals one year after winning the state title in Class 2B.
"We talked about it this week that we were in the same spot last year at 2-1 entering the game (with TC) and this was a swing game for us," East Lake coach Bob Hudson said. "This was a good win for us and gives us confidence heading into (the Largo game)."
East Lake picked off four passes in the first half and held Trinity Catholic quarterback Reid Carlton to a 3-for-20 effort on a rainy night.
"I thought our defense played hard and we did a good job of mixing up our coverages," Hudson said. "We didn't sit in the same thing too long and this was one night where the conditions didn't really help quarterbacks."
With the rain, the Eagles pounded the football with Weston Fordham, who rushed for 120 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries, while UCF commit Pete DiNovo was 13-of-23 for 146 yards and one touchdown.
"I thought we were able to achieve more balance tonight," Hudson said.
East Lake picked off three passes in the opening quarter and jumped to a 10-point lead and pushed it to 24-0 at halftime, as it held the Celtics (2-2) to just 64 yards.
"They're a good solid football team," Trinity Catholic coach John Brantley III said. "They had a deep run in the playoffs last year and they are one of the better teams over there in the Pinellas County area and I expect them to do well again in Class 8A."