Facing the stingiest defense in Pinellas County, Countryside used the big play to take a commanding lead in the first half and timely defensive stands in the second half for a 35-21 win at East Lake on Friday night.
The win gave the visiting Cougars the Class 5A-8 district title.
Countryside scored on a run play of 56 yards from Brenton Conley, a 45-yard run from quarterback Jimbo Chmelik and a 60-yard pass play thrown by the Cougars' top running back Alton Taylor to Todd Shorter.
Taylor, who came into the game with 879 yards and scored the game's first touchdown on a 1-yard plunge, had 83 yards on 26 carries. However, his arm helped the Cougars to a big enough lead to withstand an East Lake rally.
"We worked on that play all week," Taylor said of his throw.
He ran left and when the Eagles defense swarmed on him just like Countryside expected, Taylor found Shorter all alone.
"We thought East Lake's defense might be a little too aggressive," Countryside coach John Davis said.
Said Taylor, "We were waiting for the right time to spring it."
Countryside 14 14 0 7 - 35
East Lake 7 0 7 7-21
C-Taylor 1 run (Griswold kick)
C-Conley 56 run (Griswold kick)
E-Wilburn 28 run (Mitchell kick)
C-Tyler Walker 7 pass from Chmelik (Griswold kick)
C-Chmelik 45 run (Griswold kick)
E-Wilburn 13 run (Mitchell kick)
C-Shorter 60 pass from Taylor (Griswold kick)
E-Shaffer 1 run (Mitchell kick)
Gibbs 20, Pinellas Park 14
PINELLAS PARK -- Josh Rembert threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers and the Gladiators held off a late Pinellas Park rally to hang on to a big win over the Patriots.
After Jessie Hevia connected with Trevontae Butler to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, the Gibbs passing attack got on track.
Rembert tied it up with two second quarter touchdowns; one a 22-yard scoring strike to Jarvis West on fourth down and the other, a 40-yard hook up with Emmanuel Stewart as the buzzer sounded on the last play of the first half.
Pinellas Park's Oraian Bentley scored from 3 yards out to briefly tie the game at 14 in the third quarter. However, Rembert's 77-yard bomb to Jarqine Butler on the ensuing possession proved to be the game-winner, as the Gladiator defense forced a late interception to seal the win for Gibbs.
Gibbs 0 14 6 0 -- 14
Pinellas Park 7 0 7 0 -- 20
P - Butler 21 pass from Hevia (Cupo kick)
G - West 22 pass from Rembert (Clemons kick)
G - Stewart 40 pass from Rembert (Clemons kick)
P - Bentley 3 run (Cupo kick)
G - Butler 77 pass from Rembert (PAT missed)
Largo 39, Sarasota 14
LARGO -- The Packers scored 25 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to break a 14-14 tie in defeating Sarasota.
Juwan Brown's 1-yard touchdown run made it 20-14. Reggie Jackson scored touchdowns on runs of 14 and 15 yards and Ryan Haynes capped off the scoring with a 6-yard scoring run.
The Packers took the early lead on a 46-yard drive. D.J. Key capped the drive with a 4-yard run with 2:35 left in the first quarter.
Largo increased the lead to 14-0 on a Key 3-yard run. Sarasota cut the lead to 14-6 on Greg Jackson's 24-yard run.
A safety and a Sean Hurley 2-yard touchdown run tied the score at 14, setting the stage for the Packers' big fourth quarter.
Largo 7 7 0 25 - 39
Sarasota 0 6 8 0 - 14
L - Key 4 run (Howe kick)
L - Key 3 run (Howe kick)
S - Jackson 24 run (kick blocked)
S - Safety (snap went out of end zone)
S - S. Hurley 2 run (kick fail)
L - Brown 1 run (kick fail)
L - Jackson 14 run (kick fail)
L - Jackson 15 run (Howe kick)
L - Haynes 6 run (kick fail)
St. Petersburg 58, Northeast 22
ST. PETERSBURG - The Green Devils dominated with eight touchdowns and a field goal, most of which was scored before the half.
Rashad Lewis scored three touchdowns to lead the Green Devils. Lewis had scoring runs of 11 and 14 yards, and also scored on a 26-yard reception from David Jones.
Leading, 14-0, at the end of the first quarter, St. Petersburg blew the game open with 23 points in the second quarter to take a 37-7 lead at halftime.
St Petersburg 14 23 21 0 -- 58
Northeast 0 7 0 15 -- 22
S - Lewis 11 run (Papandrew kick)
S - Lewis 26 pass from Jones (Papandrew kick)
S - Sams 4 run (Papandrew kick)
S - Wilson 45 run (Papandrew kick)
S - Murph 36 run (Kick failed)
N - Dunlap 9 run (Pruitt Kick)
S - Papandrew 24 field goal
S - Lewis 14 run (Papandrew kick)
S - Pogorelc 16 run (Papandrew kick)
S - Wilson 37 run (Papandrew kick)
N - Ellis 4 run (Pruitt kick)
N - Brinson 89 run (Ellis run)
Boca Ciega 50, Seminole 6
SEMINOLE -- Boca Ciega's 22 third quarter points put the game away. Pirates quarterback Shaquille Bradford threw three touchdown passes on tosses of 4, 15 and 38. Latavien Washington also had two touchdowns scoring on runs of 8 and 42.
Palm Harbor 10, Dunedin 9
DUNEDIN -- Patrick McDonald's 34-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was the game-winner. Billy Pavlock scored the Hurricanes' lone touchdown, a 21-yard run to put Palm Harbor up 7-0 in the first quarter.
Clearwater Central Catholic 26, Cardinal Mooney 25
CLEARWATER -- Clearwater Central Catholic was about to pile on Cardinal Mooney. Holding a 26-7 lead with fourth-and-goal at the 3 late in the third quarter, CCC coach Mike Jalazo elected to go for the touchdown. But a fumbled snap stopped the drive.
Cardinal Mooney nearly made CCC pay. Cardinal Mooney rallied with three touchdowns but CCC survived.
CCC's Nick Newton threw two touchdowns on throws of 15 and 35 yards in the first half.
"The kids had to dig deep," CCC coach Mike Jalazo said. "[Cardinal Mooney] was a lot bigger than us."
Indian Rocks Christian 17, Northside Christian 10 (OT)
LARGO -- Indian Rocks Christian's Blake Farver tossed a 10-yard pass to Tyler Ostheim in overtime for the game-winner. It was Ostheim's second touchdown of the game. Earlier, he ran for a 46-yard score.