SPRING HILL — Friday night's game at Booster Stadium featured extremes of competition: the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
Springstead finished its season with a 24-21 win over Anclote, which missed out on its first nonlosing season.
"Some guys stepped up and really made some plays for us tonight," Springstead coach Bill Vonada said. "This will definitely push our expectations up a little bit going into next season."
The Eagles (3-7) took over from the opening kickoff when quarterback Tyler Mahla rushed for two touchdowns (15 and 5 yards) in the first quarter.
Mahla converted a fourth down on the opening drive with a 13-yard pass to Taylor Minter. Defensive back Exavia Montgomery sparked the next drive by picking off Anclote's Brevet Killett in Springstead territory.
"Everyone wants to pass until you throw a bad pass," Vonada said. "We had a lot of success running the ball early on, but they were bringing so much pressure that we needed to do something to slow that down."
Momentum shifted in the second quarter as Anclote (4-6) put up a long drive capped by an Alonzo Pettiford 10-yard scamper. Pettiford, who finished with 90 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns, pounded the Springstead defense along with fullback Willie Barrett (10 carries, 63 yards).
Coming out of the locker room after halftime with Springstead up 17-7, the Sharks continued to roar back. Barrett picked off Mahla to open the half and brought it back 76 yards for a score. Pettiford's second touchdown run gave Anclote a 21-17 lead going into the fourth.
The Eagles pulled out all of their tricks as the game wound down. Mahla (6-for-10, 100 yards, 13 carries, 44 yards) hit a screen to Pedro Estrada, and with a long third down on the Anclote 33, Vonada went for it all.
A reverse pass from Minter was caught by Luke McLeod and brought to the 1. Estrada scored to put Springstead up with five minutes remaining.
Anclote got to the Springstead 9 with time about to run out. A 26-yard field-goal attempt from Tim Shumate was short.