TAMPA — Just when it appeared the foot of Alonso's Jack Bryzenski would be the difference, Sickles quarterback Issac Holder used his legs for a come-from-behind victory in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The inaugural Citrus Rivalry Bowl was a three-hour thriller as playoff-bound Sickles (9-1) and Alonso (5-5) combined for 784 yards and 42 first downs. Holder, a backup to Nate Mills last year in the Gryphons' 31-29 win against the Ravens, came through.
After Bryzenski's third field goal, a 43-yarder with 2:40 left, put Alonso up 30-28, Holder capped a 60-yard, 10-play drive with a 12-yard scamper to the right corner of the end zone with 28.3 seconds left. The key play was a diving 13-yard reception by Jaaron Barrett from Holder on fourth and 11 at the Sickles 39.
"We drove the ball down the field, play by play," Holder said. "Our receivers made plays (and) I made a great play to win the game."
Sickles' Ray Ray McCloud surpassed 1,900 rushing yards on the season with 246 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. Chris Oladokun completed 18-of-32 for 253 yards and a score for Alonso. His favorite target was Marcus Mosley (123 yards on eight catches). Ish Witter scored twice for the Ravens. The Gryphons overcame 16 penalties for 169 yards.
The game was a carbon copy from last year when Sickles won in the final seconds on Daniel Lezotte's 43-yard field goal.
Sickles plays host to Plant City next week in a Class 7A region quarterfinal.
Don Jensen, Times correspondent