TAMPA — Middleton looked good for exactly one drive Friday night. Then Jesuit decided to play defense.
Middleton went 80 yards on its first offensive possession to take the lead, then didn't gain 80 yards the rest of the night as Jesuit dismantled Middleton 37-6 for the Class 2A, District 5 title.
The victory, which ran Jesuit's record to 8-0 overall, 5-0 in the district, earned first-year coach James Harrell a Gatorade shower afterward.
"It's what we work for, a district title," Harrell said. "That is complete, but it's just the first stage of our journey."
After its first drive, Middleton (3-6) was held to just 75 more yards the rest of the game.
"We weren't tackling great on that opening drive," Harrell said. "But we made some adjustments and went to an eight-man front."
For Jesuit, Miles Bennett took care of the power running game, with two scores and 145 yards rushing.
"We are just really starting to mesh and understand the offense," Bennett said. "I was also getting great blocks by the wide receivers downfield, too."
Even with its downhill running attack, Jesuit still threw for 160 yards, 83 of which came on a short pass from Patton Chillura to Bryce Walker.
After Middleton took a 6-0 lead, Jesuit answered on the next drive. Chillura hit Walker for a 30-yard score, then got a field goal and two rushing touchdowns to take a commanding 24-6 lead at the half on its way to the easy win.