Officially, Indian Rocks Christian defeated Temple Heights 21-14 Friday night at the Eagles Nest. But IRC may ultimately be the loser.
That's because Jimmy Davis, who entered the game as Pinellas County's leading rusher and scorer, did not finish it. After six rushes for 51 yards, the only thing that could stop Davis from gashing the defense was a helmet to his right ankle.
He hobbled to the lockerroom at halftime, then spent the second half at a hospital undergoing X-rays. Coach Chris Westerfield said it did not appear to be a sprain, but Davis's status was unknown late Friday. IRC's best lineman, 6-foot-3, 260-pound Ben Easter, also injured his right ankle.
Those were not the last IRC gifts handed to Temple Heights (0-3), allowing the opposition to hang around until the last 1:21, when Taylor McMillen's interception sealed it.
"We based probably 70-percent of our offense around Jimmy Davis," Westerfield said. "We learned a lesson. We've got to have a Plan B if your star goes down."
Hopefully Plan B doesn't include these plays: allowing a punt to be blocked against their own goal line and recovered for a touchdown, letting a quarterback keeper go for 97 yards and fumbling the ball in their own territory with 5:17 left.
But give the Eagles (2-1) this: Despite the shock of losing Davis and their own errors, they still won it.
Davis set up the opening score, a 2-yard run by quarterback Kyle Dearmon early in the first quarter. The offense still had some life after Davis left, as Dan Joyner took an end-around 35 yards to make it 14-0 with 10:52 left in the second.
But after that the offense collapsed, and special teams and defensive miscues would let a struggling Temple Heights team back in it.
"We survived," Westerfield said, "and we're just happy to go home with the win. We're just going to try and nurse our injuries and hope they're not too serious. We're going to have to work on a game plan without Jimmy Davis."