Tampa Catholic ends skid just in time for rivalry tilt

The ground game clicks, as does the defense, against Lakeland George Jenkins. Next up: Jesuit.
Football teams from around Tampa Bay are in action for Week 10 of the regular season.
Football teams from around Tampa Bay are in action for Week 10 of the regular season. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]
Published Oct. 26, 2019

TAMPA — Freshman running back Antoine Hill had two touchdowns to help Tampa Catholic earn a 28-8 win against Lakeland George Jenkins on Friday night.

Hill rushed for more than 100 yards and D.J. Taylor added a 93-yard touchdown run as the Crusaders snapped a three-game losing skid and improved to 5-4 heading into next week’s rivalry game against Jesuit.

The first score was set up by an interception from linebacker Jalen Williams. He returned it 32 yards giving the Crusaders a first-and-goal at the 7. On the next play, Hill ran around the left side to make the score 7-0 at the half.

“We knew we were going to be facing a tough team from Polk County and we wanted to run the ball,” Crusaders coach Jeris McIntyre said. “Antoine is just a freshman but he’s done a nice job of coming in and producing since our starter got injured. We’ve got some size and experience on the offensive line, so I feel like we should be able to run the ball successfully.”

George Jenkins (5-4) looked like it would answer after a 51-yard completion from quarterback Tyriq Starks to Kaleb Girard set the Eagles up in the red zone. Tampa Catholic, however, held strong on defense and stopped Jenkins on a fourth down at the Crusaders’ 7.

The first play of the next possession, Taylor took a sweep to the outside and showed great breakaway speed to go 93 yards for the touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

"I think D.J. is the best player in the county," McIntye said. "He can do it all on both sides of the ball. At that point we needed him on offense and he made the big play."

George Jenkins made it 14-8 after a 48-yard touchdown pass from Starks to Girard late in the third quarter, but the Crusaders defense made big plays when they needed to and none was bigger than defensive back Jaquise Alexander picking off Starks and returning it 25 yards for a touchdown and a 21-8 lead.

From there, Hill ate up yards on the ground and time off the clock. He scored his second touchdown on a short run to make it 28-8 with 1:32 remaining in regulation.

The contest featured some flareups and an altercation late in the fourth quarter led to ejections on both sides.