SARASOTA — St. Petersburg Catholic used a ball-control offense and got help with a missed extra point for its first postseason win in eight years, 35-34 over Cardinal Mooney in a Class 3A, Region 3 semifinal on Friday. Barons junior Jaquan Fuller scored four touchdowns.
The Barons (8-3) play district foe Clearwater Central Catholic in the region final.
"We are in the elite eight," SPC coach Steve Dudley said. "That is awesome. … We've got nine guys going both ways and they never leave the field. To get this far with that kind of obstacle I couldn't be more proud of them."
SPC, leading 35-28, punted with less than two minutes left. Mooney (7-3), which edged SPC 14-12 earlier in the season, needed just one play to score. Quarterback Reese Vita hit Sean Morris on a 67-yard pass with 1:32 remaining.
But Morris stuck the ball out just as he crossed the line and the referees called an unsportsmanlike penalty.
"I didn't see it," Dudley said. "They (the referees) talked to us before the game and they said any taunting would be called."
The Cougars had to kick a 35-yard PAT, which missed wide right.
In the first half, Fuller scored two of his three rushing touchdowns. He finished with 152 yards on 23 carries as the Barons rushed for 371 yards.
"My team did an awesome job," Fuller said. "We fought hard until the end and came away with a victory."
Fuller also returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a TD just 16 seconds into the game.
With 8:44 left, Mooney tied the score at 28 on a 83-yard pass from Vita to Morris plus a two-point conversion. The Barons then marched 80 yards on six plays as Fuller scored on a 18-yard run with 6:04 left.