A 76-yard drive capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Reid to Israel Carr led Tarpon Springs past Dunedin 17-13 in a non-district game Friday. Reid, a junior who did not complete a pass until late in the third period, engineered the Spongers to the game-winning touchdown by passing on all 11 plays of the drive _ a drive that started when the Spongers took possession on a fumble the Falcons claim wasn't.
Reid (10-25-2 for 154 yards, 1 TD) began the drive with an incomplete pass then hit Carr for a 29-yard gain. Passes to Shawn Matthews and Chris Campbell moved the Spongers to the Dunedin 26-yard-line before Dunedin cornerback Steve Tasker initially appeared to pick off a Reid pass in the end zone for a touchback. But the officials ruled he bobbled the ball and whistled the play incomplete.
Reid then found Matthews (6 catches for 76 yards) over the middle on third down. Matthews bobbled the ball and then hauled it in at the 9 before being hit. Three plays later, Reid connected with Carr just inside the end zone for the touchdown.
A similar play two plays earlier was ruled out of bounds. Carr said the touchdown pass from Reid was "beautiful."
"Right on the money," Carr said. "They had good coverage, I just got loose."
Tarpon's drive started after Eric Sanchez stripped the ball away from Dunedin quarterback Damion Flagler while Flagler was being stacked up at the Spongers 23. Flagler and Dunedin coach Mike Anderson claimed the quarterback's progress was stopped and the ball should have been whistled dead.
"He was stopped," Anderson said. "The kid was picked off the ground, and they (the officials) were just waiting. I don't believe it."
Flagler agreed. "I think I was down." he said. "They were holding me up as I was falling."
The Spongers (6-1) then took control and marched down the field for the game winner.
Tarpon held a 10-0 lead in the first half on a 21-yard field goal by Reid and a 73-yard touchdown run by Deon Golden, who finished with 100 yards rushing. Dunedin (3-4) struck in the third period with a 51-yard touchdown from Flagler (3-7-0, 104 yards) to Chris Neidrich and added a 35-yard touchdown run from Bennie Thomas in the fourth quarter.
But Tarpon's Sanchez came up with the big play, and Reid marched them downfield.
"I told our kids at the beginning of the game we're no longer a young football team," Spongers coach George Werner said. "At the beginning of the year, I don't think we could have done that (come back to win)."