TARPON SPRINGS — On what may be the biggest quarterback keeper of his life, Tarpon Springs senior Danny Reyes didn't merely run smack up the gut of the Springstead defense. He made a figurative detour.
He dashed right through the Eagles' heart as well.
Reyes' 10-yard touchdown run, on his team's first play of overtime, lifted the Spongers (7-2, 4-1) to a 23-20 triumph against the Eagles (6-3, 3-2), who seemed a lock for a playoff berth less than three weeks ago.
But the Spongers' triumph, coupled with Land O'Lakes' win Friday at Ridgewood and the Eagles' shocking loss to River Ridge two weeks ago, leaves Springstead as the odd team out in the Class 4A, District 8 playoff picture. Land O'Lakes is champion; Tarpon Springs is runnerup.
"It was meant to be a pass," said Reyes, who had completed 25-of-35 for 255 yards to that point. "I don't know, I just made something happen, that's all I can say."
Reyes' winning scamper stymied not only Springstead's playoff aspirations, but a valiant Eagles rally.
The Spongers had taken a 17-14 lead on Reyes' 13-yard scoring pass to Savvas Damalos with 2:27 to play. On the previous play, Reyes had hooked up with Drew Kier for a 61-yard completion.
But the Eagles answered with a 13-play, 77-yard drive, capped by senior Nate Schafer's 29-yard field goal with 3.2 seconds remaining in regulation. Schafer added a 23-yarder on the Eagles' overtime possession before Reyes scampered into Spongers lore.
"It's time for him to be a leader," coach George Kotis said. "I'm not saying he hasn't been before, but it's his team."