LUTZ — Much like carving pumpkins, Steinbrenner making the Class 8A playoffs is becoming a fall tradition.
Junior Kirby Vorhees tallied 162 all-purpose yards and scored a pair of touchdowns to lead Steinbrenner (6-4) to a decisive 48-13 victory over Palm Harbor University on senior night Friday.
The red-hot Warriors, winners of five in a row, advance to the playoffs for the third consecutive year and notched the second district title in school history (2019).
Steinbrenner jumped out to a lead on its opening drive as sophomore signal caller Ty Robinson connected with junior Demitrius Carter Jr. (five receptions, 57 yards) from 15 yards out for a quick 6-0 lead. Later in the first quarter, it was Voorhees running left off tackle and making some nifty moves down the sideline for a 27-yard score.
It was more or the same in the second quarter as Griffin Wiltse hit fellow senior Jayden Davis on the slant for a 45-yard score. Next up was Vorhees again, electrifying the crowd with a 61-yard punt return for a 27-0 lead.
“The best thing about Kirby is how unselfish he is,” Steinbrenner coach Andres Perez-Reinaldo said. “He’s close to 1,000 yards on the season, and we’ve never had a 1,000-yard rusher in school history. He wouldn’t (go back into the game). It was more important for him to see the seniors get their touches.”
After a brief rainfall, the Hurricanes were unable to handle a snap on a punt attempt, setting up the Warriors at the 6-yard line. From there it was the third quarterback of the night, senior Josh Iglesias, taking it in on the keeper. Freshman Logan Hinsburg capped the first-half scoring, lunging over the goal line on a 5 -yard score.
Palm Harbor U. (3-6) managed to get on the board in the second half when junior workhorse back Luke Yoder (14 carries, 87 yards) burst up the middle for a 50-yard score.
Perez-Reinaldo, now in his 10th year at Steinbrenner, reflected on how far his program has come
“It’s been fun to see the standard at Steinbrenner High School get raised, and this senior class has done that,” he said. “A lot of these seniors were contributors on the 2019 final four team, last year’s playoff team, and now leading this year’s district championship team. I can’t say enough about these guys.”