ZEPHYRHILLS — In a game where points were scarce and penalties and dropped passes abundant, Sunlake's Jacob Jackson found a cutback lane to avoid a second overtime game in a row.
Sunlake ground out an important 7-0 win over Zephyrhills in a Class 3A, District 7 game at Bulldog Stadium Thursday night.
"We knew it was going to be a low-scoring game," Sunlake coach Bill Browning said.
"It was just a matter of getting one across and it was a big win for us and we played four quarters."
And getting a touchdown across was a lot easier said then done, with Zephyrhills entering Sunlake's red zone twice in the third quarter with no points to show for it.
The Bulldogs (0-6, 0-4) shot themselves in the foot on both drives inside the 20-yard line. Bulldogs corner Josh Geiger picked off Jackson and returned it 65 yards to the Sunlake 7. But two plays later Jamal Roberts fumbled the snap with the Seahawks recovering.
Then Zephyrhills missed a 33-yard field goal attempt wide left and never posed another threat.
The Seahawks (3-3, 3-1) defense held the Bulldogs to four first downs and 85 total yards of offense and forced three fumbles on the night.
Sunlake finally broke through on its second play of the fourth quarter, as Jackson (13 attempts, 41 yards) managed to weave his way 23 yards into the end zone with 11:01 left in the game.
The win makes Sunlake's game next week with Mitchell a must-win, as the Mustangs improved to 7-0, 4-0 in the district Thursday night with a 28-7 win over Gulf.
And as for Sunlake being a pretender?
"I would say we are a team to watch out for," Jackson said.