SARASOTA — Clearwater Central Catholic wanted to make a statement in its final regular-season game against Cardinal Mooney. Both teams were undefeated, but the Marauders wanted to prove there was a big difference between them and the Cougars.
CCC started strong and never let up in a 55-20 win that used a running clock for most of the fourth quarter. The Marauders (10-0) have now won 23 straight regular-season games. Their last non-playoff loss was on Sept. 23, 2016, at Tampa Catholic. They have a bye week and likely will get a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
It was their ninth straight win over Cardinal Mooney. It was also CCC’s second 10-0 season in school history (2015).
"I thought it was a little disrespectful that we were their homecoming game," said senior quarterback Rory Hicks, who is 19-0 in regular season games as a starter. "I think we showed them who we are and what we can do. There weren’t any questions left unanswered."
The Marauders put together a long drive to start the game, but it ended with a fumble. They got the ball right back and Casey Levy plowed in from 5 yards to make it 7-0. Levy had 106 rushing yards total.
On the next possession, Melvin Jordan plowed in from 1 yard to make it 13-0. The extra point was blocked. The Cougars (8-1) did score early in the second to cut it to 13-7, but Jerjuan Newton scored just after on a 14-yard run.
The defense then got its first of three interception-return touchdowns when Makkah Jordan returned one 30 yards to make it 27-7. Jordan then ran one in late in the half to make it 34-14 at halftime.
Hicks, who threw for 147 yards, connected with Brett Seither on a 26-yard touchdown pass to start the third quarter. Newton then returned an interception 60 yards to make it 48-14. Not to be outdone, Seither had a 72-yard interception return to end the scoring.
"It was good for us to finish up like this because with the points we get our playoff games at home," Newton said. "I think we’re playing good football right now. And we’ve had young guys step up and play well."
With likely two weeks off, CCC will be able to rest and get back a few players out with injury. One negative in the game was that the defense gave up nearly 200 yards passing and had three pass plays of more than 30 yards. But overall, CCC coach Chris Harvey liked what he saw.
"We gave up some plays defensively but we’ve also gotten better as the year has gone on," Harvey said. "If they can keep giving the ball back to our offense with the weapons we have, we can be pretty special."