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Clearwater 16, Tarpon Springs 14

Published Oct. 12, 2005

One of these days, says Philip Nash, Clearwater will win _ really win a football game. Not sweat it out, like it did against Boca Ciega two weeks ago and Seminole a week later. Not squeak by, like they did in a 16-14 win over Tarpon Springs Friday.

For Nash, it would be nice to savor a victory while it was being won.

"One day we will just bust out and break a game open," said Nash. "Just go out and blow somebody out."

Until then, performances like Nash's _ he rushed for 150 yards and one touchdown _ will continue to keep the Tornadoes heads above water. Nash's slashing runs _ on keepers and passing plays _ keyed the Tornadoes to their non-district win. Clearwater improved to 4-1 overall, while Tarpon Springs fell to 2-3.

The game came down to the final minute. A 52-yard run by Eric Faison set up a 22-yard field goal by Nate Weatherilt that made it 16-7. Tarpon pulled to within two with a 13-yard Kris Wilson to Chris Campbell touchdown pass, and got the ball back in Clearwater territory with 1:26 left. Then, after two straight incomplete passes, Faison blasted the ball loose from Wilson on a third down pass and Jason Fuller recovered for Clearwater.

Nash broke loose around end for big gains throughout the game, after gaining just two yards on his first five carries. "I think Philip has been a little bit frustrated," said Tornadoes coach Tom Bostic. "Everybody has been geared up to stop him. But I think he did a good job tonight."

"They had a guy blitzing all the time from the outside, and I just cut it up inside of him," Nash said. "The opening was there."

Nash's running, and Tarpon mistakes gave Clearwater a 13-0 halftime lead.

Nash had 100 of his 150 yards in the first half, 23 of them coming on one run in the first period on a first and 15 at the 50. That keyed a 60-yard drive that Nash ended himself with a 6-yard scoring run.

On the second scoring drive, Nash moved the Tornadoes down the field on three successive carries, one for 22 yards another for 3 and 11 before handing off to Jay Jackson for a 4-yard TD that made it 13-0.

Aided by a 24-yard pass reception by Anquante Fowler and two key Clearwater penalties, the Spongers drove down to the Tornadoes' 14 with just over a minute remaining in the half. They came up empty, after four straight incompletions, with Jackson breaking up a Kris Wilson pass in the end zone.

A Clearwater fumble set up Tarpon's first score in the third period. On a second-and-four from the Clearwater 41, John Hayes (52 yards rushing) dashed 31 yards to the Clearwater 11. Then it was Hayes again for 9, and then Wilson took it over himself from 2 yards out.

Tarpon had help on their next scoring drive, whcih came with just over four minutes left in the game. A late hit by Jay Jackson drew a penalty that moved the Spongers to the Clearwater 42. Then the Tornadoes were called for pass interference which set up the Wilson to Campbell touchdown pass.

"We gave them a couple of breaks, with some stupid penalties," Bostic said. "But our defense is tough."