SARASOTA — Tampa Catholic handed the Sarasota Cardinal Mooney Cougars (3-1) their first loss of the season in humbling fashion.
After leading 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Crusaders (4-1) turned on the juice after that, taking a 16-0 advantage into halftime, then a 36-0 lead into the fourth quarter, which was played with a running clock.
Completing passes to nine different receivers, Crusaders quarterback Kyle Ploucher finished the game 16 of 19 for 175 yards and three touchdowns. The senior also added a 1-yard scoring run in the third quarter that put the Crusaders up 23-0.
The Cougars could do little against the Crusaders’ swarming, opportunistic defense. Running back Demardre Patterson was held to 59 yards on 20 carries.
Cardinal Mooney quarterback Reese Vita also was held in check, completing just 4 of 12 passes for 38 yards and two interceptions.
The two picks, on consecutive Cougars series early in the second period, set the tone for the rest of the game.
“I thought they were a tough football team when we saw them on film,” Tampa Catholic head coach Mike Gregory said. “They’re always going to come out and play tough. I’m proud of our guys more in the second half. I thought we made some mistakes in the first half.”.
Up next, Tampa Catholic travels to play Frostproof on Oct. 4 .