TAMPA — In a battle of New Tampa area teams, host Freedom outlasted winless Wiregrass Ranch 19-13 Friday in an overtime thriller.
After the Bulls failed to score on their opening possession in overtime, the Patriots pulled out a trick play. Quarterback Taylor King pitched the ball to Tyrell Nunn on what appeared to be a routine toss right.
The Wiregrass defense took the bait.
Nunn caught the pitch then lofted a pass to freshman Eddie McClarty. He jumped in the air, snagged the pass and got both feet down just before falling out of bounds.
"I called on a senior (Nunn) and a freshman (McClarty) and they both came through in a big way," coach Tchecoy Blount said. "Hats off to Wiregrass for playing a hard-fought game, but I told my guys that we are not losing this game tonight. And they responded."
The Freedom offense struck first, scoring two first-half touchdowns. Nate Godwin's 50-yard scamper gave the Patriots (2-8, 2-3) an early 6-0 lead. Then King connected with wideout Deven Turner for a 36-yard pass down the sideline to push the lead to 13-0.
But in the second half, the Wiregrass offense finally came alive. On their first possession of the second half, the Bulls (0-9, 0-5) drove 80 yards in eight plays, capped by 9-yard run by Jamel Nunez.
After a Freedom fumble on its next possession, Wiregrass scored again on a 32-yard run by Eli Galvan.