NEW PORT RICHEY — Zephyrhills used its speed and big-play ability to pull away from a gritty Gulf squad at Des Little Stadium.
Gulf who struck first. After an interception by Dylan McCallister set up the Bucs in the red zone, Avery Welch found a wide open RaQuan Hayes in the back of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown pass that gave Gulf a 7-0 lead.
Gulf was on the move threatening to take a two-score lead, but Zephyrhills’ Tre Everrett intercepted a Buccaneer pass, setting up the Bulldogs on their 9-yard line. From there, they went 91 yards on eight plays as Malik Mutcherson punched it in from the 1-yard line to get Zephyrhills on the board.
The Bucs unraveled in the second quarter with three turnovers — including the interception — that the Bulldogs capitalized on. Zephyrhills converted all three turnovers into touchdowns and added a safety to take a 23-7 lead into the locker room at the half.
“I saw a lot of fight late in the game, and that pleases me.” Gulf coach Jason Messamore said. “We’re getting closer.”
Zephyrhills 0 23 14 14 — 51
Gulf 7 0 7 6 — 20
G-Hayes 16 pass from Welch (Smith kick)
Z-Mutcherson 1 run (Pickett run)
Z-Pickett 6 run (Gleaton kick)
Z-Everett 35 run (Kick failed)
Z-Safety, Reed tackled in end zone
Z-Parker 20 run (Gleaton kick)
G-Reed 94 kickoff return (Smith kick)
Z-Roberts 95 kickoff return (Gleaton kick)
Z-Brockington 14 pass from Tanner (Gleaton kick)
G-Welch 4 run (Kick failed)
Z-Brockington 99 kickoff return (Kick failed)