PALM HARBOR — On East Lake’s first play from scrimmage, Weston Fordham burst through the middle for a 16-yard gain.
It was a sign of things to come Friday night.
Fordham shredded Palm Harbor University for 132 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries, receiver Artavis Scott added 55 yards on three carries and the Eagles’ punishing 263-yard rushing attack set the tone in a 49-0 victory in which a running clock was used in the fourth quarter.
“I have to give a lot of credit to my offensive line because the holes I ran through were huge,” Fordham said. “We wanted to prove we can run the ball, and I was pretty much untouched on every carry until I reached the secondary.”
East Lake’s offense usually features a steady diet of Scott and fellow receiver George Campbell streaking downfield on deep strikes. The Hurricanes knew that and doubled them whenever possible to prevent the big play.
But the Eagles still moved the ball well thanks to textbook drive blocking from one of the best offensive lines in the county.
Fordham gained big chunks and scored twice in the first half on runs of 23 and 48 yards. Scott, who added another wrinkle to the offense by lining up in the backfield on occasion, added touchdown rushes of 9 and 26 yards to help East Lake take a 28-0 halftime lead.
Scott returned the opening kickoff of the second half 90 yards for a touchdown to make it 35-0. On the next Eagles possession, Jake Hudson hit Campbell on a 61-yard scoring pass for a 42-0 lead.
Besides pushing around PHU defenders in the running game, East Lake’s linemen, led by Mason Cole, kept pressure largely away from quarterbacks Hudson and Brandon Swift, who combined to complete seven passes for 155 yards.
Late in the third quarter, the Eagles rounded out the scoring on a 10-yard run by Drew Cuoto.
“The guys we got up front are pretty good,” East Lake coach Bob Hudson said. “We’ve put it on their backs to carry us and they got us going in the run game.”
The Eagles defense held the Hurricanes to 118 total yards and forced 10 punts. PHU quarterback Tyler Kaminski had a team-high 52 yards rushing on 15 carries.