CLEARWATER — Spongers junior Michael Ford rushed for 100 yards and five touchdowns as Tarpon Springs defeated Clearwater 58-0 in the season opener for both teams. Patrick Miller chipped in with 131 yards and a touchdown, and Montel Johnson contributed 68 yards as the Spongers displayed a potent ground attack.
Tarpon Springs was equally dominant on defense and special teams. Linebacker Damarkus Jones forced two fumbles and led a feisty defense, which recorded six sacks and harassed Tornadoes quarterback Garrisin Bryant. Louis Zervos kicked a 49-yard field goal and consistently booted touchbacks, forcing Clearwater to start each drive deep in its territory.
Tarpon coach Ron Hawn was pleased with his team's effort. "We have a lot of high character kids," he said.
The Spongers started the scoring early as Jake Battyanyi hit Johnson with a 29-yard pass in the first quarter to go up 7-0. Tarpon led 37-0 at the half.
Rick Cantor, Times correspondent