TARPON SPRINGS — A pair of big plays staked Tampa Catholic to a 14-0 first-quarter lead and the Crusaders never looked back in beating Tarpon Springs.
Quarterback Kyle Ploucher hit Justin Matlow over the middle on the game's second play and the senior receiver turned it into a 61-yard touchdown. Running back Ben Reed doubled the lead to 14-0 about 5 minutes later with a 65-yard burst through the left side.
Tampa Catholic entered the game averaging just 57 yards rushing but put up 223, with Reed leading the charge with 143.
Playing without injured quarterback Jarrett Battyanyi, Tarpon Springs struggled to move the ball. The Spongers rushed for 324 and 363 yards, respectively, in their first two games, but this was a different story as Tarpon Springs and star running back Michael Ford (16 carries for 67 yards) were limited to 103 rushing yards and 142 overall.
The Spongers avoided the shutout by capping a 12-play, 74-yard drive with Louis Zervos' 31-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Ploucher, who also ran for a 14-yard score, threw for 164 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, completing 8 of 13 pass attempts. The senior hit Matlow four times for 105 yards and the first score.
Tampa Catholic 13 7 0 7 — 27
Tarpon Springs 0 0 0 3 — 3
TC – Motlow 61 pass from Ploucher (Sarafianos kick)
TC – Reed 65 run (Failed XP)
TC – Ploucher 14 run (Sarafianos kick)
TC – Romp 26 pass from Ploucher (Sarafianos kick)
TS – FG Zervos