TAMPA — Keanu Cordova made it sound simple.
“The person in the backfield was blocking A-gap, so I just rushed in and moved him out of the way and got to the ball,” he said.
Cordova’s blocked punt in the third quarter led to the go-ahead touchdown as No. 4 seed Admiral Farragut eliminated No. 1-ranked Cambridge Christian 24-13 Friday in a Class 2A, Region 3 semifinal at Skyway Park.
It was the second year in a row that Admiral Farragut (8-3) has knocked off Cambridge Christian (8-3) at the semifinal level. The Blue Jackets, who have won six consecutive games, advance to play No. 3 Seffner Christian next week.
Cordova’s block of a James Porter punt led to teammate Antonio Johnson’s return of the football 35 yards for a touchdown to give Admiral Farragut the lead for good at 14-7 with 7:06 left in the third quarter. They were part of 24 answered points by the Blue Jackets, who avenged a 27-9 regular-season loss to the Lancers on Sept. 13.
“It was great to win,” Cordova said. “We’ve been practicing hard all year, and we were preparing for (Cambridge Christian) again."
Cordova, also a nickelback, was part of a huge defensive effort by Admiral Farragut in the third quarter. Cambridge Christian managed only 12 yards on 11 offensive plays in the period, and the blocked punt was one of three critical Lancer miscues in the second half.
Courtney Eubanks had an interception and Glynn Richardson recovered a fumble for the Blue Jackets. The Lancers also hurt themselves with 75 yards in penalties after halftime.
“(The blocked punt) was the killer,” Cambridge Christian coach Bob Dare said. “With the injuries that we had, we were kind of makeshift in who was ever in there (during the punt). That really hurt."
Admiral Farragut added to its 14-7 lead on a 19-yard field goal by Joseph Harreld, and a 1-yard TD plunge by Tonio Shavers Jr. early in the fourth quarter. Shavers pulled Admiral Farragut even with Cambridge Christian with 49.5 seconds left before halftime on a 42-yard TD pass to Richardson.
Four minutes earlier, the Lancers scored first on a 47-yard pass form Chris Stephenson to Noah Froelich on fourth down. Stephenson also scored the Lancers’ final TD on an 8-yard run with 2:16 left.
“I knew Farragut would play well,” Dare said. “They’re a big and physical team. I thought we were able to shut down their run game for the most part until the end when we were worn down.
“Our season was pretty incredible. Last year, we only graduated four seniors and were 4-8. To get off to the start (this year) that we had in wins and ranked in the state, that kind of momentum really surprised us at how well (the team) bonded together.”
All games 7:30 p.m. next Friday.
Class 2A, Region 3
• No. 4 Admiral Farragut at No. 3 Seffner Christian
Class 3A, Region 3
• No. 5 Clearwater Central Catholic at No. 2 Fort Myers Bishop Verot
Class 4A, Region 3
• No. 3 Tampa Catholic at No. 1 Lakewood
Class 5A, Region 3
• No. 4 Jesuit at No. 2 Lake Wales
Class 6A, Region 2
• No. 3 Lake Minneola at No. 1 Gaither
Class 7A, Region 2
• No. 2 Lakeland at No. 1 Armwood
Class 8A, Region 2
• No. 4 Steinbrenner at No. 3 Kissimmee Osceola