Osceola used first-half touchdown runs of 69, 56, 58 and 52 yards to overcome five turnovers and costly penalties in a Class 4A, District 12 win.
Osceola (3-6, 3-2) controlled the line of scrimmage with 444 yards rushing, while holding Wharton to 14 net yards. Wharton (1-7, 1-4) had the edge in time of possession, turnover ratio and field position throughout much of the game, but allowed the Warriors to break off big runs at inopportune times. Wharton did earn a measure of respect late in the game, scoring just its second offensive touchdown of the season, a 10-yard run by Marshall Anglin.
PLAY OF THE GAME: After being pinned deep in its own territory through much of the first quarter, Osceola running back Derrick Pettis broke through the Wharton line and outran the secondary for a 69-yard touchdown run.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Pettis rushed for a career-high 149 yards and two touchdowns. Teammate Tarik Jones added 114 yards rushing, including a 56-yard touchdown run. Yarkee Miffin helped the Warriors on both sides of the ball, snaring an interception in the first quarter scoring on a 34-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
KEY STATISTIC: Wharton forced four fumbles and had an interception, while also benefitting from 11 Osceola penalties. But the Wildcats managed just one touchdown with their advantageous field position.
THEY SAID IT: "They were stacking eight men in our face, and we knew if we could establish control of the line, we could break some long ones," Osceola coach George Palmer said.
_ JOHN WING
Northside Christian 22,
St. Petersburg Catholic 16
ST. PETERSBURG _ Northside Christian quarterback Joey Hester led the Mustangs to victory, scoring a touchdown and throwing for two. The Mustangs improved their record to 6-3 in a game that went down to the final minute.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Ryan Rawls caught a screen pass from Hester and broke two tackles and ran in from 6 yards to score. The touchdown made the score 21-16 and was the difference maker in the game.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Northside Christian's Joe McNeal caught four passes for 74 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown pass. McNeal also intercepted a pass with three minutes to play at the 12-yard line to stop a Barons threat. St. Petersburg Catholic's Casey Moore ran 13 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns.
KEY STATISTIC: The Barons only had 81 total yards in the second half after leading 16-6 at halftime. Moore and Carl Roberts rushed for 220 yards, but the Mustang defense held them to 22 yards in the second half.
THEY SAID IT: "I'm real proud of our guys tonight. They showed a lot of character," Northside Christian coach Bob Dare said. "They played very well and I'm proud of them."
_ CHARLES CARDWELL
Clearwater 9, Boca Ciega 0
GULFPORT _ Sticking with the running of James Miller and a dominating defense, Clearwater won its second straight game and recorded its first shutout of the season.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Ahead 6-0 in the fourth quarter, Miller broke free on a 30-yard run between the tackles to set up David Hahn's 26-yard field goal that put the game away.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Miller rushed for 187 yards on 29 carries. Hahn kicked three field goals to account for all of Clearwater's points.
KEY STATISTIC: The Tornadoes defense held Boca Ciega to 110 total yards and recorded two sacks, recovered one fumble and picked off a pass.
THEY SAID IT: "They all laughed at me last week when I told them we had a winning streak," Clearwater coach Tom Bostic said. "But you have to build on something. We gained more confidence on offense and the defense played out of their minds. Overall, we're getting there."
_ BOB PUTNAM
Plantation Am. Heritage 49,
Admiral Farragut 0
ST. PETERSBURG _ Admiral Farragut completed consecutive winless seasons with a one-sided loss to Plantation American Heritage (4-4) in a non-district game.
Not even the appearance of football great Otto Graham's grandson at quarterback could help the Blue Jackets (0-9). Graham, a freshman up from the junior varsity, was pressed into service as a backup for starter Sal St. Germain, who substituted for the injured Spike Mendelsohn. Graham completed 2 of 7 passes in his brief stint.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Paul Wolfe's 20-yard touchdown run around right end broke two tackles and opened the scoring midway through the first period.
PLAYERS' OF THE GAME: The American Heritage offensive line enabled five Patriot backs to average 10 yards a carry and totaled 313 yards.
KEY STATISTIC: The Blue Jackets seven turnovers, three lost fumbles and four interceptions.
THEY SAID IT: "I'm not giving up," Farragut coach Dave Smith said. "It is discouraging and frustrating, but next year starts Monday when we start conditioning in the weight room."
_ JACK HOUGHTELING