TAMPA — Quarterback Kyle Ploucher tossed a pair of touchdowns and ran for another as Tampa Catholic kicked off its playoff run in style, trouncing visiting Melbourne Holy Trinity 52-14 in a 3A region quarterfinal Friday.
Ploucher wasted little time putting the Crusaders (9-2) ahead for good, connecting with Justin Motlow for a 70-yard pass on the game's third play from scrimmage. Ploucher and Motlow hooked up five times for 156 yards.
"Me and Justin have been great friends inside and outside of school," Ploucher said. "You get the ball to him on a short slant and he can take the ball 100 yards."
Holy Trinity's third offensive play was not nearly as successful. Daniel Welch was hit while throwing and his pass floated just past the line of scrimmage and into the arms of Cody Endris. The linebacker raced 37 yards untouched for a 14-0 lead and the rout was on after barely more than two minutes had ticked off the clock.
"My job on the play was to spy the quarterback," Endris said. "He got hit, my eyes stayed on the ball and I just took it in."
Ploucher finished 9-of-13 for 207 yards. His second score came on a 9-yard catch-and-run to Jake Romp and the senior quarterback added a 1-yard touchdown plunge. T.J. Harrell (five carries, 72 yards) ran for a pair of 30-yard touchdowns and Ben Reed added a 16-yard score.
Tampa Catholic's defense took care of the rest. TC held the Tigers to 231 yards of offense, but 74 of those came on a long touchdown and 80 against TC's reserves.
Brandon Wright, Times correspondent