Thursday, January 18, 2018
Sports

Triumph via tiebreaker never sweeter for East Bay

PLANT CITY — All season, East Bay High School had found ways to eke out gritty victories, with second-half safeties or botched punts or fourth-quarter touchdown drives.

Monday night in the biggest two quarters of the Indians' season, East Bay did it again.

The Indians scored two last-minute touchdowns — one against Strawberry Crest and another against Plant City — to win the Class 7A, District 8 title in a three-team tiebreaker at Plant City.

"I feel like we've been battle tested, and we proved it tonight," East Bay coach Frank LaRosa said. "Holy cow, that was awesome."

East Bay's first district championship since 1973 gives the Indians a home game against Gaither for the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.

Plant City rebounded to edge Strawberry Crest 6-0 in the final 12-minute game. That sends the Raiders to Sickles for the 7A region quarterfinals and ends the Chargers' hopes of their first playoff appearance.

East Bay's latest heroics started with a dominant defensive performance. Plant City and Strawberry Crest combined for 45 yards against the Indians, who earned six of their seven regular-season victories by one score.

East Bay (7-3) capitalized on a short field late in its first game against Strawberry Crest (6-3), with Chris Greene bulldozing for a 17-yard touchdown with 57 seconds left to secure the first win.

"I can't put it into words …" LaRosa said. "These guys are just absolutely resilient. They're warriors. They're fighters. They're all those words synonymous with kids who just do not give up."

That was even more evident in the second game against the Raiders (7-2). Plant City drove to the East Bay 28 on its only possession, but Anton Crutcher leapt for an interception at the 5 to give the Indians the ball back with a few minutes left.

Quarterback Chris Carpentier led East Bay on a 10-play, 95-yard drive, picking up a key third-down conversion on a 23-yard pass to Eric Latortue.

Then with 36 seconds left, Carpentier found Randen Cortez alone in the end zone for the winning 20-yard touchdown pass.

"I just put it in the spot where only he could get it…" said Carpentier, who was 3-for-3 passing for 47 yards on the final drive. "We ain't done yet."

Neither is Plant City, which clinched its first playoff appearance since 2010 with strong defense of its own.

The Raiders' only score came with two minutes left, when Strawberry Crest dropped back to pass on second and long. Matt Tucker flew in from the blind side for a sack and jarred the ball loose for Sedrick King to swoop it up.

"It was down there for a long time," said King, a UCF commit. "Luckily I saw it at the last second."

King ran it 16 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. The Chargers drove into Plant City territory on their final drive, but Tucker and John Broome each had sacks to seal the Raiders' third trip to the playoffs in the past five seasons.

Staff writer Matt Baker can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @MattHomeTeam.

Comments

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMurray State at Belmont7 p.m.ESPNUJacksonville State at Morehead State7 p.m.CBSSNWomen: Florida at Arkansas7 p.m.SECWomen: Tennessee at Notre Dame7 p.m.ESPNMinnesota at Maryland8:30 p.m.FS1UNC Asheville at Winthrop9 p.m.ESPNUSt...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Australian Open

Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia —Maria Sharapova ticked off more items on her "to do" list at the Australian Open, returning to center court and accounting for the only person who has beaten her at a Grand Slam since her comeback from a doping ban. The unseeded...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Sports in brief

BaseballFormer Umpire Harvey, known as ‘god,’ dies at 87Doug Harvey, a Major League Baseball umpire for 31 years whose calls of balls and strikes, fair and foul, safe and out were delivered with such gusto and authority that he was known as "God" to ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bruins’ points run reaches 14 games

Bruins’ points run reaches 14 games

BOSTON — David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner each scored an early goal, Tuukka Rask stopped 21 shots and the Bruins beat the Canadiens 4-1 on Wednesday in Montreal coach Claude Julien’s return to Boston. The surging Bruins have earned at least a point in...
Updated: 5 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 17

Wednesday’s scoreboardBoys basketballBoca Ciega 62, Clearwater 52Boys soccerPalm Harbor U. 3, Dunedin 0Girls soccerPalm Harbor U. 5, Dunedin 0
Updated: 5 hours ago
Spurs return Leonard to sideline with leg injury

Spurs return Leonard to sideline with leg injury

Kawhi Leonard is headed back to the sidelines, and he’ll stay there until his leg is ready. The Spurs decided Wednesday to shut down their All-Star forward, saying Leonard would be out indefinitely as he continues his recovery from injury. "We didn’t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
QB’s death spurs calls for help

QB’s death spurs calls for help

When Dr. Brian Hainline learned about the apparent suicide of another college athlete, it hit hard. Again. No, he didn’t know Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski. But he has heard such stories far too often. The NCAA’s first chief medical off...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Reports: Brady hurts hand

Reports: Brady hurts hand

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady jammed his right (throwing) hand at practice Wednesday after accidentally being run into by a teammate, reports said.X-rays revealed no structural damage and Brady should be okay for Sunday’s AFC tit...
Updated: 5 hours ago
HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

HomeTeam 25: Boys basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. St. Petersburg (11-1)This week: Friday at Osceola; Saturday vs. Oak Hill (Va.) @Berkeley Prep's National HoopfestThe buzz: The Green Devils returned to action last week, beating Palm Harbor University by 33 and Sickles by 10. Guards Serrel Smith a...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Updated: 9 hours ago