RIVERVIEW — The Spoto Spartans were given all they could handle by the Blake Yellow Jackets but came storming back in the second half to capture a 45-28 victory Friday.
Eric Moate paced the Spartans (3-3-1) with a game-high 153 yards on the ground and four rushing touchdowns, three of which came in the second half.
His 29-yard run with 3:40 left in the third quarter put Spoto ahead for good 31-28. The Spartans battled back in the game after falling behind early in the first quarter.
Blake quarterback Zain Gilmore threw a pair of touchdown passes of 30 and 55 yards to give his team a surprising lead 14-3 lead after one quarter.
In the early going, Blake (2-5) was able to counter Spoto's aggressive defense by running screen plays, including the 55-yard touchdown to DeAndre James, and it appeared an upset might be in the works.
"We made some early mistakes in our coverages," Spoto coach Dale Caparaso said, "and they made some really nice calls with their screens against our blitz."
The Spartans responded, however, with 21 unanswered points in a 2:45 span in the second quarter to take a 24-14 lead. The Yellow Jackets regained the lead on Gilmore's third and fourth touchdown passes, taking a 28-24 lead into the half.
Spoto's defense kept the pressure on Gilmore in the second half and was able to force four punts and an interception while keeping Blake off the scoreboard. Though Spoto shut him down in the second half, Gilmore had an outstanding night with 287 yards in the air to go with his four touchdown passes.
On the offensive side of the ball, Moate stole the show in the second half with three touchdowns.
"Our offense dominated tonight," Caparaso said. "That's something we hadn't done all year long."
Despite the early 11-point deficit and the possibility of being upset on homecoming night, Caparaso had no doubt his team would respond favorably.
"We've got pretty good character here," he said. "This group of kids fights back hard, and they always believe."