DUNEDIN — Kenyatta Merriex had an interception and two touchdowns during the second half to lead the Spongers.
Tied at 7 with 4:06 left in the third quarter, Merriex picked off Mack Benson's pass and returned it 42 yards to the Falcons 11. That set up Louis Zervos' 25-yard field goal.
On the Spongers' next possession, Merriex ran 51 yards for a touchdown out of a four-back wildcat to make it 17-7. Soon after, out of the same formation, he ran 21 yards for an insurance touchdown.
Sophomore Michael Ford rushed for 158 yards on 14 carries and scored Tarpon's first touchdown, a 65-yarder, in the first quarter.
"I saw Ford's performance coming ever since I first laid eyes on him last year," Tarpon coach Ron Hawn said. "We've had a bunch of close games. We are getting better and better, especially late in the game."
Colby Cole, Times correspondent