TAMPA — Middleton's defense set the tone early and its offense capitalized, scoring three of its four touchdowns following turnovers as the Tigers (2-3, 2-1) celebrated homecoming by defeating district foe Strawberry Crest 31-14.
"Our defense stepped up big and did a good job tonight," defensive lineman Leon Cusic said. "Now we just have to keep our composure heading into next week."
Cusic recorded a sack and a pair of fumble recoveries. On the Chargers' first possession, Cusic stripped quarterback Trey VanDeGrift and pounced on the ball on the Strawberry Crest (3-2, 1-1) 7-yard line. Two plays later, Tevin Sutton (game-high 91 yards on 17 carries) rumbled in from 2 yards out to put the Tigers ahead 8-0.
Middleton finished with three fumble recoveries, three sacks and an interception.
Brandon Wright, Times correspondent