TAMPA — In a game plagued by miscues and penalties, the Patriots escaped with a win.
After a short touchdown run by Freedom's DJ Grant, the fireworks lit up. Senior Heath Grady made a 45-yard field goal to extend the lead to 10-0 at the half. Next up, Grant took a read option 12 yards but fumbled the football at the Tigers 10. Teammate Sayff Saed grabbed the ball before it hit the ground and ran it in for a touchdown.
"It was an accident," Saed said. "I saw the ball up in the air, and I knew I had to make a play."
Then Tiger Anthony Rhynes took over.
Rhynes hauled in an 88-yard touchdown, 90-yard touchdown and a 60-yard completion that he fumbled at the Patriots 10. All told, Rhynes had three catches for 238 yards and two touchdowns from senior Marcellus Ray, who played despite a foot injury.
Grant, who threw two interceptions, was elusive in the backfield. He kept several plays alive and sneaked in for a touchdown then a game-clinching first down in the final two minutes.
Andy Warrener, Times correspondent