One can only imagine how agonizing it must feel to lose to your biggest rival 13 straight years; hence, the feeling that Tampa Catholic football players and fans had to vacillate over at the end of last night’s ballgame. I was incredibly impressed entering Tampa Catholic’s stadium on the outpouring of support for both teams. Crusader and Tiger fans were packed like sardines in the stands and they overflowed into every crevice of the stadium.
The first quarter was a defensive battle with neither team able to gain much traction. At the start of the second Tampa Catholic finally began to move the ball with quarterback Kyle Ploucher and running back TJ Harrell leading a masterful drive against a stringent Jesuit defense. The drive would stall out at the end and only result in a field goal by Michael Sarafianos. This would be the only score in the first-half as both teams played grueling SEC caliber defense.
The defenses continued punishing the opposing offenses for most of the third until Jesuit senior defensive lineman Tony Torres made a game changing hit on Harrell that caused him to fumble. Jesuit linebacker Parker Clounts leaped on the ball in the end zone for a Jesuit touchdown. The play gave Jesuit a 7-3 lead and seemed to shellshock the Crusaders.
Jesuit would add a Rhett Waldron field goal a few moments later after another Tampa Catholic turnover. During the 4th quarter Vincent Testaverde would clinch the game with a 32 yard touchdown pass to Tony Castro with the final score of 17-3.