TAMPA — Jesuit continued its perfect season with a 35-7 victory over visiting Chamberlain on Friday night in a Class 5A region quarterfinal. The Tigers also beat the Chiefs earlier this season and in last season’s region semifinal.
Friday’s game was tight at the half with Jesuit leading 13-7.
Midway through the second quarter, it was tied at 7-7 before junior safety Wade Woodaz forced a fumble that senior linebacker Todd Bowles Jr. recovered at the Chamberlain 24-yard line. Five plays later, senior quarterback Joe Pesansky hit junior wide receiver Junior Vandeross in stride for a 9-yard touchdown pass.
Halftime adjustments were made and the Tigers went ahead on the first play of the third quarter.
Junior wide receiver Jaydn Girard reeled in a strike from Pesansky in the flat and went 60 yards down the right sideline for a 21-7 lead.
Sitting at 12-0 for the first time in four seasons, coach Matt Thompson has his group focused on the task ahead.
“Players have a lot to do with it. Pesansky has a lot to do with it. The coaches continue to stick with what we do,” Thompson said. “These kids have a great attitude about practice and putting in time with the weight room. They are overachievers.”
Despite having no drive over seven plays, Jesuit punted just twice and was productive in generating touchdowns.
Three of the five Tigers touchdowns came from sophomore running back Joquez Smith. With 7:42 left in the first quarter, he broke a few tackles at the line of scrimmage for the opening score of the night from 8 yards out.
He dashed down the right sideline to put the game on ice late in the fourth quarter for a 22-yard rushing score. Then, with under two minutes left, he punched down the middle of the line for a 4-yard touchdown run.
“If you try to take away our passing game, we are going to hit you with our running game. Smith can hurt you,” Thompson said.
“He doesn’t have all the yards that everyone does because we have been dishing the ball around but when his number is called, he always performs.”
Up next for Jesuit is a home region semifinal clash with Orlando Bishop Moore (7-2), which beat Lake Wales 28-6.
“Bishop Moore is going to be well-coached. They are pretty much like us,” Thompson said. “It is going to be a heck of a game. I don’t know who will be favored but it will be like a seven-point game.”