ST. PETERSBURG — For the first time in its 27-year history, East Lake has finished a regular season undefeated.
The Eagles' 10th win was a convincing 54-0 blowout of St. Petersburg on Friday in a game decided by halftime.
East Lake outgained the Green Devils 284-68. St. Petersburg (6-4) only crossed the 50-yard line twice, earned three first downs (one by penalty) and trailed 37-0 at the half.
In the second half, most of East Lake's starters were on the sidelines wearing baseball hats and watching the second- and third-stringers play.
"We knew from the beginning of the season that we could go 10-0," senior cornerback Devin Abraham said. "This team is special. It's a great feeling."
East Lake outscored its opponents 472-56. The shutout is the fourth of the season. It is also East Lake's largest margin of victory this season.
The Eagles opened with a seven-play drive that ended when Weston Fordham scored on a 6-yard run. Daniel Lacamera's extra point made it 7-0. That score remained until early in the second quarter, when East Lake's special teams took over.
On fourth and 6 from the Green Devils 40, Abraham ran 39 yards on a fake punt. Fordham barreled in from a yard out to make it 14-0.
Minutes later, Abraham blocked Parker Bryant's punt and Hunter Snyder scooped it up at the 3-yard line and scored. It was the third block punt by Abraham in the past two games.
"I slipped through there pretty easily," Abraham said. "You would think by now that somebody would block me, but we have a pretty good system."
On St. Petersburg's next punt attempt, the ball sailed over Bryant's head and out of the end zone for a safety. Late in the second, Fordham scored his third touchdown on a 26-yard run. And Jake Hudson hit Artavis Scott on a 54-yard touchdown pass to make it 37-0.
From there the only suspense was how the Eagles would douse coach Bob Hudson with the water bucket.
"I knew that one was coming," Hudson said. "They said 'Coach, you got your phone?' Hey, it's school history."
East Lake plays Friday at home against Palmetto in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs. Hudson said before the game he stressed the importance of a perfect season. At the end of the game, he stressed the importance of the playoffs.
"I told them it's over," Hudson said. "We're 0-0. It's done. Don't be satisfied. That's what I left them with."