ST. PETERSBURG — Running back Chris Culbreth scored on an 83-yard kickoff return in the second quarter, but that was the high point for Northside Christian in a 48-7 loss Friday night to Orlando First Academy.
Jimmy VanDeilen gave the Mustangs some hope in the second half with a 35-yard pass to Culbreth, but that threat was turned back when the Royals' Clark Keater intercepted the ball in the red zone.
"We have a young team," VanDeilen said. "Most of our players are freshmen and sophomores; just wait two years, and we will be on top."
Staying on the ground most of the game, the Royals ran for 325 yards, half of them from backs Zack Bishop and Matt Thrush.
"This will prepare us for next week," Mustangs coach Andre Dobson said. "We have a young team, so this will prepare them for the future."
Alton Edwards, Times correspondent