Wesley Chapel got a scare Friday night in its quest for an unbeaten season, narrowly squeaking past Citrus 38-36.
"Citrus is a good football team," Wildcats coach John Castelamare said. "Every time we saw them on the tapes, they have a few offensive sets that they work well out of."
Wesley Chapel led 28-13 at the half, then things got crazy.
After exchanging field goals early in the third quarter, Citrus (3-6) took over. Freshman Patrick Kruis scored on a 54-yard fake punt, and tailback Willie Miller had an 81-yard scoring run as the Hurricanes cut the gap to 38-30.
Quarterback Casey Snyder connected with senior tight end Steven Strong on a 4-yard touchdown with 15 seconds left. With the score 38-36, Citrus went for 2 to tie it, but Snyder fell 2 feet short of the end zone.
Early on it appeared the Hurricanes' offense wouldn't be a factor. After jumping ahead 7-0 on a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Aaron Dickler, Wesley Chapel (9-0) got the ball back after Citrus went three-and-out. The Wildcats scored on Anthony Rawson's quarterback dive.
Citrus got on the board at the end of the first quarter as Snyder scored from the 1, cutting Wesley Chapel's lead to 14-7. The Wildcats took the kickoff and drove before Citrus cornerback Israel Burton stripped the ball from B.B. Roberts. Snyder picked it up darted 40 yards for the defensive touchdown. But a missed extra point made it 14-13.
That miscue was crucial to Citrus.
"That is what we try to tell the kids, you never know what mistake will come up and hurt you in the end," Citrus coach Larry Bishop said. "It's the little things, we are almost there, we are at the doorstep. This team is a good football team."