TAMPA — Tampa Catholic scored early and often on its way to a 52-14 victory against undermanned Melbourne Holy Trinity in a Class 3A-Region 2 semifinal Friday night.
On the third play from scrimmage, Crusaders quarterback Kyle Ploucher connected with Justin Motlow for a 70-yard pass along the left sideline for a touchdown.
Later in the first quarter, TC blitzed Tigers quarterback Daniel Welch, forcing him into a bad throw that was intercepted by Crusaders linebacker Cody Endris, who returned it 35 yards for the score.
The Tigers opened the second quarter with their only score of the half when Welch connected with Joc Perry on a 75-yard pass play.
Ploucher put TC back in scoring position when he connected with Motlow for 22 yards. On the next play, running back TJ Harrell eluded two tacklers en route to a 30-yard run to make it 21-7.
Later in the second quarter, Ploucher again connected with Motlow, this time for 46 yards. Harrell then scored his second TD on a 29-yard run.
With 32 seconds left in the half, Ploucher lunged into the end zone to make it 35-7.
In the third quarter, Ryan Belfiore recovered a fumble, giving Tampa Catholic the ball on the Tigers’ 19-yard line. Two plays later, Ploucher hit Jake Romp on a cross pattern for a 42-7 lead.
“This was a statement game for us,” Crusaders coach Mike Gregory said. “We executed well in all aspects of our game.”
Holy Trinity 0 7 0 7 — 14
Tampa Catholic 14 21 14 3 — 52
TC—Motlow 70 pass from Ploucher (Sarafianos kick)
TC—Endris 35 INT return
HT—Perry 75 pass from Welch (Bacon kick)
TC—Harrell 30 run (Sarafianos kick)
TC—Harrell 29 run (Sarafianos kick)
TC—Ploucher 1 run (Sarafianos kick)
TC—Romp 8 pass from Ploucher (Sarafianos kick)
TC—Reed 21 pass (Sarafianos kick)
TC—FG Sarafianos 45
HT—Shaw 24 pass from Welch (Bacon kick)