TAMPA — Before one of the most populous, passionate audiences to fill the Jack Peters Field bleachers in recent memory, the undefeated Robinson Knights didn't merely answer their final remaining skeptics Friday night.
They unanswered them.
In what may have been the Class 2A, District 5 title game, the Knights (4-0, 2-0) spotted Jesuit (3-2, 1-1) a 10-point lead before reeling off 50 unanswered points in a staggering, statement-making 50-10 romp.
"Now we're back," seventh-year coach Mike DePue said.
If the roster is any indication, the Knights might be back to stay, at least for a while. Of the seven players who accounted for points Friday, none were seniors.
"Fifty unanswered points — I can't even get the words out I'm just so flabbergasted," added DePue, whose program is 4-0 for the first time since 2000. "I think we were a little taken aback when they went up 10, but then all of the sudden in a minute and a half we scored three touchdowns. … Offensively they couldn't handle our speed on the outside."
Robinson's pivotal sequence began, predictably enough, behind junior speedster Frankie Williams, who returned a Tyler Feely punt 61 yards for a touchdown to give the Knights a 14-10 second-quarter lead they wouldn't relinquish. Williams has returned two kicks and a punt for scores in the past three weeks.
"It changed the whole game around," Williams said. "I knew we had something coming."
On the very next play from scrimmage, typically sure-handed Jesuit senior Ben Gutowski fumbled after hauling in a short Bobby Eveld pass. Knights junior Tevin Newman recovered.
Newman's encore: five second-half sacks, including three on one possession.
"He's a beast," DePue said.
The play after Newman's fumble recovery, Robinson quarterback Blake Rice found Byron Pringle behind his defender for a 34-yard TD, giving the hosts a 21-10 lead. After a Jesuit fumble on its next possession, Rice hooked up with Ruben Gonzalez (four catches, 128 yards, two TDs) for a 14-yard TD with 52 seconds to play before halftime.
It was Rice's third consecutive pass for a TD. And for all intents, it sealed the outcome.
An outcome that again has made Robinson the pride of Port Tampa.
"I've been through all the trenches," said Williams, whose team totaled three victories the previous two seasons. "We could've won more games than we did last year. We've been here, it just didn't show in the W's."