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Anclote dominates Battle of the Anclote River rivalry

Thomas Crawford scores four touchdowns for the Sharks in the 40-6 win over Tarpon Springs.

HOLIDAY — Although Anclote won last year’s meeting, the Battle of the Anclote River had been dominated by Tarpon Springs. And granted, those games came in the preseason. Now with both teams locked in the same district, this rivalry means a little more, and the official record will show Anclote leads 1-0 after Monday’s 40-6 victory.

Coach Jason Messamore was back on the sideline Friday night after missing several weeks of action with back surgery. Messamore opened up the playbook early, but a sluggish start and penalties derailed the Sharks’ opening possession. They fared better on the next possession.

After forcing a three and out, Anclote (3-6) needed just four plays to hit pay dirt with Thomas Crawford’s 4-yard TD run. The Sharks recovered a fumble on the ensuing Spongers possession and were on the board again the next play with another TD run by Crawford.

Crawford made the most of his first career start at running back, carrying the ball 10 times for 62 yards and a game-high four touchdowns.

“With Tarpon being close to us, it’s a big win for the rivalry. I was out a couple weeks due to surgery, but the coaches did real well while I was gone," Messamore said.

Things never got easy for the Spongers as the night went along. Seven of Tarpon’s eight possession ended either with a turnover or punt. But the Spongers did avoid their sixth shutout of the season thanks Stelio Monokandilos’ 40-yard TD catch from Max Wegehaupt as time expired.

Sharks quarterback Adam Hardy, who attended Tarpon (1-7) last year, threw for 117 yards while rushing for 42. Anclote’s defense feasted, holding the Spongers to 105 total yards while logging three interceptions and vie sacks.