Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Land O'Lakes 21, Mitchell 17

TRINITY — Moments after his team surrendered the lead to Mitchell late in the fourth quarter Friday night, Land O'Lakes quarterback Stevie Weatherford trotted onto the field toward the huddle. Once there, the junior kept his speech simple and to the point.

"I knew we could win, so I kind of told them, 'Let's play our game, score a TD and get it over with,' " Weatherford said.

With a playoff spot on the line, Weatherford completed passes of 45 and 24 yards on consecutive plays, the latter a scoring connection to Will Irwin with 1:45 left that gave the Gators a lead they wouldn't surrender. After Mitchell turned it over on downs, Weatherford took a knee twice to end it as Land O'Lakes escaped with a thrilling 21-17 win to reach the postseason for the 13th straight season, this time as Class 3A, District 7 runnerup.

"This is the best feeling I've had," Weatherford said.

On the flip side, Mitchell was understandably devastated.

The Mustangs (8-2, 5-2) came oh-so-close to a playoff berth. Behind terrific blocking from the offensive line and a gritty performance from tailback Ricky Trinidad (36 carries, 185 yards), the Mustangs twice scored go-ahead touchdowns in the fourth.

Trinidad produced both of them.

The second, a 5-yard run up the middle on fourth down, came on a direct snap and sent the Mustangs' homecoming crowd into a frenzy as Mitchell went ahead 17-14 with 2:21 left.

"Ricky was awesome," Mitchell quarterback Matt Michaels said.

Down, Land O'Lakes (8-1, 6-1) wasn't out.

"I was nervous," Weatherford admitted, "but the thing to do is not think about it too much."

On its winning drive, Land O'Lakes was stuffed on first down. But on the next play, Weatherford (10-of-17, 240 yards) escaped a heavy rush and found Alex Robinson racing down the left sideline to give the Gators first and 10 at the Mitchell 24. Before Mitchell could catch its breath, Weatherford hit Irwin in stride in the end zone on a post pattern.

"I was thinking, 'I've got to catch this ball; I've got to make this play,' " Irwin said.

Land O'Lakes21
Mitchell17

Land O'Lakes 21, Mitchell 17 11/06/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 6, 2009 11:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jameis Winston stats: How the Bucs QB performed under pressure

    Bucs

    Every quarterback's performance declines when he faces pressure from the defense.

    Of the 35 quarterbacks who have thrown at least 400 passes since 2015, Jameis Winston ranks 30th in completion percentage. He is third, however, in yards per completion. [WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Times]
  2. Could Lightning deal for a defenseman today?

    Blogs

    Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has been trying to further bolster his blueline, and he may have a chance to acquire one by tonight's first round of the NHL Draft.

    The Lightning is reportedly in on Travis Hamonic (Islanders), though New York is rumored to be asking for two-first round picks.
  3. SI ranks Quinton Flowers on top 100, above Deondre Francois

    Blogs

    Sports Illustrated's ongoing countdown of the top 100 players in college football includes some high praise for USF quarterback Quinton Flowers.

  4. Kentucky recruit, former Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox among top prospects for 2018 NBA Draft

    Preps

    Less than 24 hours after the NBA Draft, analysts have already begun looking ahead to 2018.

    Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox finishes a layup during the McDonald's All-American game in March at the United Center in Chicago. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Illinois is recruiting a 10-year-old. Where will Lovie Smith be by the time the kid can sign?

    Blogs

    Today in ridiculous recruiting news, Lovie Smith's Illinois football team offered a scholarship to a 10-year-old.