TAMPA — Jesuit faced one more roadblock on its path to the postseason: A hungry St. Petersburg Catholic team looking to keep its playoff hopes alive. But the Tigers pounced on the Barons to clinch a playoff spot as Class 2A, District 5 runnerup.
"This week we definitely weren't going to overlook St. Pete Catholic," senior running back Robby Garcia said. "Last Saturday we got down to business right after the Middleton game, and I think it really paid off."
Jesuit turned to its senior leaders, as Garcia and quarterback Bobby Eveld led a potent offense through a tight first half en route to the blowout. Garcia scored from inches out late in the first quarter to give Jesuit a 7-0 lead.
The Barons answered in the second quarter on quarterback Chris McKay's 4-yard scramble. With the score tied at 7, Eveld orchestrated a perfect two-minute drill. The Tigers drove 67 yards in 1:01, and Eveld hit Ben Gutowski for a 15-yard touchdown. St. Petersburg Catholic then drove to the 7-yard line only to miss a field goal.
"They everything to gain and nothing to lose, and those kind of teams are always dangerous," Jesuit coach Joe Ross said. "They played us tough the first half, but I think we had a little too much for them in the second half."
That meant a steady dose of Garcia, who carried 13 times for 104 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. Fourteen of SPC's 59 plays went for negative yardage or turnovers.