CLEARWATER — On a night that honored both teams' seniors, the Indian Rocks Christian and Calvary Christian underclassmen stole the show. The Warriors (5-5) battled the Golden Eagles (8-2) for a half before the Eagles pulled away to a comfortable 34-14 victory.
IRC junior Damian King returned the opening kickoff 97 yards to the Warriors' 3.
"All I'm thinking when that ball's in the air is how I gotta take this back," said King, who doesn't get many opportunities since teams don't usually kick to him.
On offense, King was spectacular. He had scoring runs of 5, 13 and 69 yards along with a 39-yard catch. He finished with 258 all-purpose yards.
Sophomores ruled the night on defense. IRC's Theo Anderson recorded three drive-stopping sacks as well as a tackle for loss. Anderson also had 106 yards rushing with two touchdowns and threw great lead blocks for King.
Warriors sophomore Tyler Fischer had two tackles for loss that snuffed Eagle drives and was a constant headache for IRC's offense.
Warriors senior Nick Linardos was a triple threat, playing offense, defense then grabbing his baritone. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound Linardos is a marching band member in his first year of football.
"It's been amazing to play here, to get all this experience," Linardos said.
Andy Warrener, Times correspondent