ST. PETERSBURG — For four quarters, Ethan Englebert took himself to the limit of human endurance. He cramped. He staggered. He wilted.
But he kept running with the football until it was no longer a game, but a test of his will.
Englebert, a senior, rushed for 203 yards on 27 carries and scored three times to help Indian Rocks Christian beat Shorecrest 37-21 in a Class A, District 5 game.
"I was killing myself out there," Englebert said.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. The Golden Eagles like to keep their running backs fresh by spreading the workload. But Jonny Sitton, their leading rusher, was out with a strained hamstring. And the Chargers zeroed in on fullback dives by Lou Mason.
That meant Englebert became the workhorse.
The job took an exacting toll. In the first quarter, Englebert was gashed after a defender drove his helmet into his lower back. The blow caused him to bleed and required bandages.
But the slippery, change-of-direction artist stayed in the game, and his tough running set up the Golden Eagles' first score, a 2-yard plunge by Mason to put them ahead 7-6.
In the second quarter, Englebert scored on a 3-yard run to make it 14-6.
The Chargers (3-2, 1-1) answered on quarterback Hunter Tremaine's second touchdown of the game, a 5-yard run up the middle. Toms Bernhards-Callahan ran in the two-point conversion to tie the score.
IRC (5-0, 1-0) came back on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Blake Farver to Buddy Kaufman to go ahead 21-14 at the half.
Englebert put the game out of reach in the second half with touchdown runs of 11 and 21 yards to make it 35-14.
"I had no idea before the game I was going to run the ball that much," Englebert said. "I had a bandage wrapped around me after that gash, and I had a hard time breathing. It was a tough game."
Shorecrest responded with Bernhards-Callahan's 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but it was too late.
"I thought it was one of those games where we just ran out of time," Chargers coach Phil Hayford said.