TAMPA - Tampa Catholic coach Bob Henriquez didn't want to say, "I told you so," but at halftime Friday, he told his players, "I told you so."
The Crusaders remained undefeated with a win against Mulberry that was closer than the score would indicate. Mulberry (2-6, 1-2 Class 2B-District 5) led for much of the first half and hung in until the final minutes. With the Crusaders clinging to a 7-6 halftime lead against a supposed undermanned opponent, Henriquez lit into his team.
"I told them all week not to underestimate Mulberry," Henriquez said to his Crusaders (7-0, 3-0). "They weren't thinking about Mulberry all week, but they were thinking about them at halftime. The bench was totally not calm and it's not the way we play. We calmed down in the second half and got away."
For Tampa Catholic, Hunter Joyer scored on an end around from 25 yards. Mulberry came right back when Antonio Brown hooked up with Nicholas Cain on a 45-yard pass.
TC tied the game at 14 when Henry McCloud ran it in from the 15. Mike Paleveda kicked a short field goal to put the Crusaders ahead 17-14, and the defense wrapped it up on a 40-yard fumble recovery return by Jeremi Wilkes.
Mulberry6080-14Tampa Cath.07710-24 M - Brown 5 run (kick failed)
TC - Joyer 25 run (Paleveda kick)
M - Cain 45 pass from Brown (Brown run)
TC - McCloud 15 run (Paleveda kick)
TC - FG Paleveda 22
TC - Wilkes 40 fumble recovery return (Paleveda kick)