CLEARWATER — In different ways, Hillsborough and Clearwater had a lot to work on Friday.
Neither team could truly be satisfied with what happened, but two young squads improved as the evening progressed while the visiting Terriers pulled away for a 41-7 victory.
High points included a performance from Hillsborough junior quarterback Dwayne Lawson that was at times dominant. He hit on five of his last six passes for 84 of 131 yards and one of his two touchdowns.
One of his last connections was a 15-yard beauty to Xavier Byrd with 16 seconds left in the first half that gave the Terriers a 27-7 lead and essentially salted the game away.
The Tornadoes battled hard but with a sophomore quarterback and a junior and freshman playing key roles, growing into the speed of the game will be just as important as winning.
The hosts had four turnovers wrapped around their only touchdown. Inconsistent special teams play both helped and hurt their efforts.
“Hillsborough is a tough team to start with on our first time together but we responded well and we handled ourselves well. We’re going in the right direction,” rookie Clearwater coach and former NFL cornerback Donnie Abraham said.