GULFPORT — After trading field goals in overtime Friday, Tampa Catholic pulled ahead for the win on a 10-yard touchdown run by TJ Harrell. Boca Ciega got the ball back and Ryan Henson appeared to have a receiver open, but the ball was underthrown and picked off to seal the Crusaders' victory.
"We have a long way to go," TC coach Bob Henriquez said. "This was a dress rehearsal and next week with the storm approaching, it can be a short week and we need to be ready. I would rather learn about my team with a win instead of a loss."
Both teams came out sloppy on their opening drives. The Pirates finally put something together with Henson hitting Jason Macon on a 38-yard reception, mixed with several nice runs by Caleb McCullough and Denzal Dillard. Dillard later scored to put the Pirates up 7-0.
TC tied things up when Kyle Ploucher connected with Justin Motlow for a 56-yard touchdown, and the Crusaders scored on a 16-yard TD run to lead 14-7 at the half.
The Pirates wasted little time getting on the board in the third quarter, with Demarius Brinson picking off a Ploucher pass. McCullough and Henson later hooked up for an 80-yard TD.
Phillip Haywood, Times correspondent