Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Hometeam

Football: Countryside 23, Clearwater 20

CLEARWATER — A nearly three-hour emotional roller-coaster.

That’s the only way to describe Friday’s battle for the Clearwater Centennial Cup between host Clearwater High and rival Countryside. Plays made and missed, takeaways and giveaways, big plays and mistakes … everything boiled down to an unbelievable final 16 minutes that saw the visiting Cougars hold on for a 23-20 victory, snapping the Tornadoes’ two-game head-to-head win streak in the process.

After Countryside (3-0) took a nine-point advantage on a 7-yard touchdown run from Brandon Warren (25 carries, 95 yards), Clearwater (1-2) rode the dogged running of Qwa’shaun Perry (160 yards, 18 carries) into the red zone where quarterback Rent Montie hit Marcus Jeter with a 7-yard TD toss to cut the gap to three with 4:34 remaining in the third quarter.

Then everything got crazy.

Jeter sniped an aerial from Chris Cooper (265 offensive yards on the night) and returned it 53 yards to the Cougar 15 only to see Damon Byrnes-Mitchell return the favor near his own goal line.

"On the sidelines (after the turnover), all we said to each other was ‘keep your head up,’?" said Byrnes-Mitchell, who added a fumble recovery to his stat line. "We’re going to play football. We take some pride out of that."

Opportunities came and went from there. Clearwater lost a fumble at the Cougar 15, then stuffed Countryside at its own 10 on downs to keep things within reach.

Behind Byrnes-Mitchell, linebacker Anthony Burburija and end Mehki Turner, Countryside stopped Clearwater on downs at the 17 and 14, the last with 2:06 remaining.

The Cougars looked to run out the clock, but instead Tornadoes junior Damon Dennis popped the ball loose and Demetrius Garland recovered 3 yards from the promised land. On the next play, Arkevias Reynolds did the same, pouncing on the loose ball at his 15 to lock up the win.

"The kids just have a mind-set that they’re not going to let a bad play set them back from what they want to do," said Countryside coach Eric Schmitz. "They rally around each other and get the next play for their teammates. It’s really special to watch."

Both teams turned the ball over five times on the evening, none bigger than when a Clearwater kick returner ran the ball 98 yards for an apparent second-quarter TD but was ruled to have flipped the ball to an official before crossing the goal line, seeing it roll out of bounds for a touchback. Countryside then drove for a Tyrese Fortune TD, turning a possible 14-3 deficit into a lead it wouldn’t lose the rest of the night.

Montie got Clearwater on the board first with a nice 25-yard scramble, and Jeter rambled 10 yards to pay dirt in the third quarter. The Cougars opened with a 39-yard Davis Hughes field goal and added a second-quarter Cooper-to-Cardrece Mobley 26-yard strike.

"I’ve never felt closer to a group of guys in my life," Cooper said. "I think that’ll help us do well this season."

Comments
Jefferson shakes up coaching staff, finds playoff spark

Jefferson shakes up coaching staff, finds playoff spark

Three weeks ago, Jefferson was upset by Robinson 22-19 in the regular-season finale. It was the fourth time the Dragons lost by five points or fewer this season. Despite being 5-5, first-year Jefferson coach Joe Midulla was confident his team wo...
Published: 11/13/18
These Hillsborough WRs go high, go long, around traffic and to the end zone

These Hillsborough WRs go high, go long, around traffic and to the end zone

From nearly any place on the field, Carrollwood Day quarterback Chris Butash can unleash a pass to a number of quality receivers at his disposal.Then the fun begins.After each throw, Butash watches his teammates streak downfield with the ball, leavin...
Published: 11/13/18
Pasco County’s playoff football honor falls to two Zephyrhills programs

Pasco County’s playoff football honor falls to two Zephyrhills programs

In the first round of the high school football playoffs, both teams from Zephyrhills made a statement. Zephyrhills High defeated Crystal River 35-0, in Class 5A while Zephyrhills Christian Academy defeated Gainesville St. Francis Catholic 55-0 in 2A....
Published: 11/13/18
Why do state football titles elude Pinellas County?

Why do state football titles elude Pinellas County?

Pinellas County has sent numerous high school football players to colleges and the NFL. Some have been part of national championship teams. Others have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy after winning the Super Bowl.None has won a state title.By now it is w...
Published: 11/13/18

High school scoreboard for Nov. 12

Boys soccerIndian Rocks Christian 3, Bishop McLaughlin 0
Published: 11/13/18
State cross country roundup: Riverview’s Alyssa Hendrix, Plant girls triumph

State cross country roundup: Riverview’s Alyssa Hendrix, Plant girls triumph

The state of cross country is strong in Tampa Bay, a sentiment that resounded loud and clear through all four high school classifications on Saturday in Tallahassee.First, the champions.The Class 4A girls race was rife with local gold after Riverview...
Published: 11/12/18
Sunday Morning Quarterback: Playoff performances to remember from Round 1

Sunday Morning Quarterback: Playoff performances to remember from Round 1

Highlights from the first round of the playoffs:Player of the WeekKavbion Marbra, Zephyrhills Christian: It was a good night for area defensive backs. Armwood picked off three passes, returning all three for scores in a win over Groveland South Lake....
Published: 11/11/18
State swimming: Medals, but no team title for Plant girls

State swimming: Medals, but no team title for Plant girls

STUART — The Plant girls swim team once again performed extremely well at state Saturday. The trouble is that Florida’s Class 4A meet is a huge, unwieldy beast featuring some of the country’s fastest times.Nonetheless, Plant’s girls came in with ple...
Published: 11/10/18
Region swimming: It’s the usual team sweep for Berkeley Prep

Region swimming: It’s the usual team sweep for Berkeley Prep

ST. PETERSBURG — Even during an ultra-competitive afternoon featuring several races determined by fractions of a second, Berkeley Prep was still able to stay on top.Competing Saturday in the Class A, Region 3 final at North Shore Aquatic Comple...
Published: 11/10/18

State volleyball: Bishop McLaughlin seeks first title

SPRING HILL — Bishop McLaughlin's volleyball program entered Saturday's Class 3A state semifinal against Jacksonville Christ's Church Academy with a chance to move toward the school's first berth in a state title game.For a club that had n...
Published: 11/10/18