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Tornadoes slip past Warhawks

Forget flash and dash. Clearwater High is content to win games like it did against Seminole Friday: with a 5-yard fourth-period touchdown run by Jermaine Clemons and a defense that gave up just three first downs.

The Tornadoes' 7-0 win, their largest margin of victory this year, lifted them to 3-1 and 1-1 in Class 5A, District 8.

The Tornadoes' winning score was engineered by Clemons and Eric Faision. A 53-yard drive ended with Clemons going in from 5 yards out with 9:20 remaining.

Clearwater held Melvin Dukes, the Warhawks' senior speedster, in check. Dukes entered the game averaging more than 150 yards per contest, including 79 against top-ranked Sarasota Riverview two weeks ago.

But a relentless Clearwater defense limited him to just 32 yards, 5 yards fewer than the Warhawks (2-2, 0-2) managed on the ground all evening.

"We felt if we stopped him, it would take away most of their offense," said linebacker Jay Jackson. "Our team goal was to hold him under 100 yards."

They held the entire Warhawks offense under 100 yards. Seminole had 27 yards passing, and quarterback Avery Taylor was sacked three times for minus-29 yards.

The slick conditions made footing precarious, but Seminole coach Sam Roper said he thought it would have helped his squad.

"They have more team speed than we do," said Roper. "We just did not move people off the ball the way we were capable of; that's all it boils down to."

Clearwater, meanwhile, used its quickness to keep the huge Seminole line off balance.

"We have gone with our speed for years now," said coach Tom Bostic. "It's been a few years before we had a team that was really big."

There were five fumbles in the first half, two in the first minute, and the wet field was at least partly responsible for one missed scoring opportunity, as Philip Nash lost his footing on a 30-yard field-goal attempt in the first period.