TARPON SPRINGS — The Spongers scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns, including Daniel Davis’ 77-yard interception return, to open their season with a 27-13 win against Clearwater.
Davis also scored on a 61-yard reception in the second quarter and ended his big night with 140 total yards.
“I’m feeling good,” the senior said after the Tarpon Springs performance. “We never gave up, played hard until the buzzer and played our Tarpon ball.”
The Spongers opened last season with a 58-0 blowout victory against Clearwater, but the Tornadoes showed they are much-improved in 2014.
Junior quarterback Garrison Bryant went 18 of 35 for 352 yards and two touchdowns through the air, but Tarpon Springs defenders managed to snag three game-changing interceptions.
Clearwater took a 13-7 second-quarter lead on Bryant’s 21-yard hookup with Rasim Avmet, but Tarpon Springs answered on its next offensive snap with Davis’ 61-yard catch-and-run from Brandon Casler. The Spongers signal-caller finished his efficient night 12 of 18 for 167 yards and two touchdowns.
The Tornadoes defense showed its improvement up front by limiting star Tarpon Springs running back Michael Ford to 83 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
Spongers coach Ron Hawn said that shows that his team is capable of moving the ball with other contributors, but he added that some running-game issues need improvement.
“We’ve got to get a little better on the offensive line,” he said. “We’ve got big guys that do some good things, but we’ve got to get them all on the train, get them all moving the same direction at the same time, and then we’ll be fine.”
Clearwater 0 13 0 0 — 13
Tarpon Springs 7 7 0 13 — 27
TS—Ford 3 run
C — Lehman 76 pass from Bryant (Lehman kick)
C — Avmet 21 pass from Bryant (kick failed)
T — Davis 61 pass from Casler (Zervos kick)
T — Davis 77 INT return (Zervos kick)
T — Mehas 20 pass from Casler (kick blocked)