CLEARWATER — Clearwater Central Catholic and Carrollwood Day traded big play after play Friday night. With nine seconds remaining in the game, the Patriots scored a touchdown and trailed by one.
Carrollwood Day coach Marshall McDuffie didn’t hesitate going for two.
“I felt we could win it right there,” McDuffie said. “I was going for the win. That’s it. That’s all.”
A few seconds after McDuffie’s decision, Marauders defensive back Shamar Rigby made the biggest play of the night.
Carrollwood quarterback Jordan Magwood ran right and sent a quick pass to burly Xavier Goulbourne in the flat. Goulbourne and Rigby met in a head-on collision at about the 2-yard line.
Goulbourne crashed down a few inches short of the goal line and CCC sealed up a 28-27 victory.
“I knew they weren’t going to throw at me so went right down on (Goulbourne) when I saw him coming out of the backfield,” Rigby said. “I’m not going to lie, (Goulbourne) was big, but I hit him (midsection). It was a good collision, but I wasn’t letting him in.”
The play was a fitting ending to a tight, hard-fought battle between two of the state’s most talented teams in the Marauders (6-0, ranked No. 4 in Class 1M) and the Patriots (3-1 and No. 5 in 1M).
Carrollwood started the fireworks early in the first quarter with a 60-yard touchdown pass from Magwood to Izaiah Williams, a scoring strike the Patriots followed a few minutes later with a 68-yard touchdown pass on a slant to Tayshaun Burney.
The Patriots led 14-0.
But Clearwater Central Catholic, last year’s state runnerup in Class 1M, didn’t blink.
Behind the running and passing of quarterback Jershaun Newton (17 rushes, 111 yards) and the hard-nosed running of Nasir Hutchinson and Justin Stephens (19 combined carries for 118 yards), the Marauders kept clawing back, more with consistent, clock-chewing plays than big strikes.
By halftime, the score was tied at 14.
“It’s just two different types of football, we’re a smash-mouth type of team and they use every inch of the field with speed all over the field,” Marauders coach Chris Harvey said. “It makes for an interesting matchup. They have a lot of talent, but so do we.”
The most talented player on the field Friday night at Clearwater Central Catholic would make for a close debate, but you could definitely make a case for Newton, who also played full time at defensive end down the stretch, often chasing Magwood out of the pocket.
Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene
Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
On the final Carrollwood drive, Magwood (13-of-17 for 257 yards, three touchdowns) completed his final five passes for 47 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown to Williams that set up the final conversion attempt.
Williams finished the night with two touchdown catches of 60 and 20 yards, and another two catches for a combined 51 yards.
In the end, Harvey alluded to the fact that Carrollwood and Clearwater Central Catholic may very well end up meeting again in the playoffs.
“We learned a lot tonight after playing them,” Harvey said. “Again, it should be interesting.”