ZEPHYRHILLS — For the first time, Zephyrhills has won twice in the same postseason. The Bulldogs dominated Anclote 62-0 Friday night in a Class 5A region quarterfinal, a win that came one week after Zephyrhills defeated Weeki Wachee 26-0 in a play-in game.
“Hey, look at the scoreboard,” Bulldogs coach Nick Carroll shouted to his players as they headed to the south end zone for a postgame huddle. “History, baby.”
Zephyrhills hosts Orlando Jones, a 39-0 winner over Hernando, in Friday’s region semifinal. The Fightin’ Tigers are 8-0. The Bulldogs have eight straight wins following an 0-2 start that came after missing the first two games of the season due to a player testing positive for the coronavirus.
“When we had all those hardships going on, I told you something great was going to come out of this,” Carroll told his team. “You’re living it right now.”
Zephyrhills, which beat Anclote 49-0 in the regular season, had its most productive game since a 62-0 defeat of Tarpon Springs last season. The Bulldogs, who have six shutouts this season, are in the playoffs for the sixth time in the past seven seasons.
The Bulldogs (8-2) took a 14-0 lead on a Jaylin Thomas 65-yard punt return and a Tre Gallimore 11-yard run before exploding for 41 points in the second quarter.
Clayton Cornelius set up the first two of five touchdowns in that frame with fumble recoveries. Thomas ran for a 12-yard touchdown after that first turnover, then Gallimore scored on a 5-yard pass from Jaxson Rivera. Cornelius then put Zephyrhills ahead 35-0 on a 21-yard touchdown reception from Rivera.
Asked which meant more to him, the fumble recoveries or the touchdown catch, Cornelius replied, “The two fumble recoveries, for sure. It helped make the scoreboard look like that (35-0 at the time).”
Rivera, who completed 9-of-14 for 99 yards and four touchdowns, also had scoring passes of 35 and 33 yards to Mike Barber and T.J. Jackson, respectively.
With a running clock moving things along for the entire second half, Carroll unloaded his bench. Backup quarterback R.J. Allen had one completion, a 36-yarder to Willie Queen. That play set up the second of Queen’s two touchdown runs, a 23-yarder that came shortly after his score from 28 yards.
Queen wound up with a game-high 106 combined yards (70 rushing, 36 receiving).
The Sharks, who dropped to 3-8, struggled from the outset. Daryon James passed for 58 yards, most of which came as the clock ran in the second half, and he also gained 52 on the ground.