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Armwood establishes dominance from first snap

The Hawks notch their fourth shutout of the season, this one against Jefferson.
Football teams around Tampa Bay are in action for Week 9 of the regular season. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]
Published Oct. 19

SEFFNER — Play began with a lightning bolt and ended in a monsoon, but Armwood enjoyed smooth sailing throughout in a 49-0 victory against Jefferson in a non-district game on Friday.

Any hopes Jefferson (4-4) might have had of catching the Hawks in a letdown game following last week's big victory against district rival and perennial playoff team Tampa Bay Tech ended in less than a minute.

Armwood's Eric Wilson took the game's first snap, cut upfield behind the right guard, bounced outside to the home sideline and outran everyone for a 57-yard touchdown run. Wilson rushed for 112 yards in the first quarter and 169 overall on 11 carries. He added a 27-yard scoring run midway through the second quarter that gave Armwood a 28-0 lead.

“When you set the tone like that, the whole rest of the game is ‘Okay, we’re good,’ ” Armwood coach Evan Davis said. “You lock in right away. So, it was good for us to get rolling.”

The play, which followed Jefferson winning the coin toss, marked the second week in a row Armwood scored on the game's first offensive snap.

"We usually like to defer (the coin flip) and put our defense out there, which is our strength, and let them go," Davis said. "But the last couple of weeks we have had to start on offense and, shoot, we score right away."

On Friday, Armwood also scored often, usually set up by that defense, which held Jefferson to minus-27 yards of offense and three first downs — two by penalty and none after the first quarter — as a steady, moderate rain fell throughout.

"Our defensive coordinator (Kyle Worden) is the best in the business, and our kids thrive on his game plans and the intensity he brings," Davis said. "When they get hitting on all cylinders and doing all the right things, it is scary how fast and physical they play."

Armwood (7-1) entered with 94 tackles for loss this season and added 11 to the total against Jefferson.

"We didn't execute anything, and when you do that against a good football team like that you really limit your chances to have a good night," Jefferson coach Joe Midulla said. "It's about what we do, and, tonight, we didn't do our jobs well enough and they did."

The shutout was the team's third in a row and fourth overall. The Hawks have surrendered only 27 points to Florida-based teams this season.

The defense also got into the scoring column. Linebacker EJ Perry benefitted when a wet ball squirted out of Jefferson quarterback Tre Simmons' hand as he was preparing to pass. Perry never broke stride as he picked up a room-service bounce and scooted 45 yards for the score, giving Armwood a 14-0 lead.

The defense also delivered the game's final score when Jalil Core returned an interception 96 yards for a touchdown.

In between the defense’s scores, Armwood quarterback Cam’Ron Ransom connected with Patrick Oden Jr. on a 6-yard scoring pass to open the second quarter, backup quarterback Hunter Helton scored on a 2-yard run late in the second quarter, and Jakobi Jackson ran in from 2 yards out on the final play of the third quarter.

Up next: Armwood wraps up Class 7A, District 8 play at home against East Bay next week before a season finale against unbeaten Gaither. ... Jefferson faces Blake in a Class 6A, District 10 game in its district finale.

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