CLEARWATER — With the Class 6A, District 9 title on the line, the Clearwater Tornadoes never flinched. They took a 17-0 lead into the break before wrapping up the night with a 34-7 win over visiting Largo (3-5, 2-2). The Tornadoes (7-0, 4-0) forced six turnovers on the way to being crowned district champions. Coach Don Mesick got a water cooler poured on him during his postgame speech.
Key drive: Ahead 7-0 midway through the opening quarter, Clearwater senior quarterback Austin Day found Brannan Demeter for a 25-yard splash play. Three players later, junior running back Jarius Williams ran through a wide-open running lane on the left side of the line for a 20-yard score.
Stars of the game: Senior safety Grant Wilson had a team-best two turnovers for Clearwater, an interception return for a score and a fumble recovery — both in the second half. Senior linebacker Ernest Bell posted the other interception return touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Kane Taylor and Quante Perry each also a pick each for Clearwater. Senior linebacker Reagan Hassler finished with five tackles and two sacks.
Stats of the game: Clearwater senior wide receiver Jacquez Jones had 84 yards and a touchdown grab. Williams totaled 64 yards and a touchdown. Day was 13-of-18 for 134 yards and a touchdown pass. For Largo, junior safety Jaquan Hiers recorded a 40-yard fumble recovery touchdown on the third play of the second half.
Final word: "Last week was the first week that we didn't win the turnover battle. We've won (it) every other week and we were counting on our guys to force turnovers. Turnovers have been a huge part of our defense and putting our offense in a good situation, so we just kind of carried on with that." — Mesick