TAMPA — Jesuit quarterback Bobby Eveld was 8 years old the last time the Tigers lost to rival Tampa Catholic in their annual regular-season finale.
So as the Tigers senior and his teammates celebrated another win over the Crusaders at Alumni Field, even he couldn't grasp the significance. Jesuit's 24-14 win over Tampa Catholic was its 10th in a row in the series — closing out a decade of dominance.
"I don't even know," Eveld said. "I've only been a part of it four years. But 10 is a big number. I know that."
Just as the past, this year's affair had its share of turns and twists. The Crusaders' speed seemed to be thwarted by slippery turf. Tampa Catholic's game-tying field-goal attempt in the third quarter pinged off the post. And Jesuit — outmanned in terms of big-name recruits — won with hard-nosed football
The script played out as usual, another Jesuit win.
"I really don't have an answer for it," Tampa Catholic coach Bob Henriquez said. "Unfortunately, we're used to this. It's truly disappointing. We had our opportunities."
Jesuit running back Robby Garcia ran for a game-high 208 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries.
"Robby has just been sensational," Jesuit coach Joe Ross said. "He doesn't put the ball on the ground. He gets tough yardage. He's just Mr. Dependable."
After heading into the half tied at 14, the game turned in the third quarter on a Tampa Catholic fumble deep in Crusader territory. Jesuit capitalized on the turnover with Tyler Feely's 34-yard field goal that put the Tigers up 17-14.
Jesuit (9-1) then closed out the game in the fourth on an 80-yard touchdown drive after a Tampa Catholic field-goal attempt hit the left post. The key play on the drive was Eveld's 14-yard rollout run on third and 9. Garcia scored from 10 yards out two plays later.
Hank McCloud was the only effective Crusaders (8-1) offensive weapon, running for 192 yards on 10 carries, including touchdowns of 73 and 88 yards.
"All you hear about in the paper is about they have great athletes and they have great athletes, but I feel we play as a team," Garcia said. "We don't have those athletes that stand out, but we play as a team. That's what I'm proud of about this team."