CLEARWATER — East Lake players and coaches were tired of hearing about the streak.
The Eagles hadn’t beaten rival Countryside since 2007. They not only wanted to end the streak, they wanted to leave no doubt that the power has shifted a few miles north on McMullen Booth Road.
East Lake dominated the Cougars, scoring on its first three possessions and even adding a defensive touchdown in a 47-3 win.
Running back Weston Fordham gained 101 yards and scored three touchdowns, and Artavis Scott scored a rushing touchdown and caught a touchdown to lead the Eagles.
“We haven’t beaten them in so long, so we kind of just wanted to kill them,” Fordham said. “We didn’t want to just win. We wanted to tear it up. This is my first time beating them. It feels great.”
East Lake (7-0, 3-0 Class 7A, District 9) started right away with a mix of running and passing. On its first drive, quarterback Jake Hudson hit Scott on a 45-yard pass to put the ball at the Countryside 7. Two plays later, Scott was in the end zone after a 5-yard run.
The extra point was blocked.
The Eagles defense then forced a punt, and the offense was at it again. Fordham started the drive with a 19-yard run. Later, Hudson hit Scott on a 23-yard pass. And on third and goal from the 1, Fordham blasted in to make it 13-0.
Then George Campbell went to work. Campbell sacked Robby Hicks for a 17-yard loss on first down. On the next play, he sacked Hicks at the 2 and forced a fumble. Campbell scooped up the loose ball in the end zone to make it 20-0.
From there, East Lake cruised while Countryside sputtered. At the start of the second quarter, Fordham capped a five-play drive with a 3-yard run for his second touchdown.
Hicks left the game in the second quarter with a separated left shoulder and didn’t return. Countryside played the rest of the game with backup Trent Chmelik.
“We wanted to execute and get up on them early and make them play catch-up,” East Lake coach Bob Hudson said. “We have the ability to score with a lot of different people, and our defense has been playing well all year.”
Neither team started well in the second half. East Lake missed field goals of 42 and 52 yards. But things went back to normal in their next two drives when the Eagles scored on an 8-yard run by Fordham and a 17-yard pass from Hudson to Scott.
Countryside (5-2, 2-1) avoided the shutout when Martin Turowski kicked a 39-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was played with a running clock due to East Lake’s 40-3 lead. East Lake reserve quarterback Brandon Swift still found time to score on a 6-yard run.
“The holes were very big,” Fordham said. “Our line was just pushing them back. Once I got through the hole, it was just open field.”
The win keeps East Lake undefeated in 7A-7 and sets up a showdown next week with undefeated Pinellas Park.
But the focus on Friday night for East Lake was beating Countryside.
“This is a big win for us,” Scott said. “And to be able to come to their field and beat them is a great feeling.”