Sickles win 1st Football District Championship
Gryphons (8-1, 5-0) grabbed a 28-0 lead one minute into the 2nd Quarter and never looked by in their 35-8 win over Tampa Bay Tech to capture the Class 7A District 7 Championship, their 1st-ever district title in school history.
Junior RB Ray Ray McCloud III lead the way with 30 carries for 209 yards, 4 rushing touchdowns including a 53-yarder in the 4th Quarter to cap the scoring. For the season, he has over 1600 rushing yards and 19 rushing TDs.
Junior QB Issac Holder went 8 for 9 with 107 yards passing including a 44-yard TD strike on play-action to senior Jaaron Barrett on the Gryphons second offensive play of the game for a quick 7-0 lead.
Sophomore LB Jake Hampton intercepted a pass two plays later and returned it 35 yards to the Titans 1, setting up McCloud’s 1st rushing TD.
Junior WR Chett Levay chipped in four 1st downs with his 4 receptions for 52 yards.
Sickles defense was dominant this night holding Tampa Bay Tech’s offense to 110 yards rushing and 54 yards passing; Titans were averaging 218 on the ground and 220 through the air coming into this contest.
Gryphons Defense got contributions from many including senior LB Anthony Janezic with a sack and 2 tackles-for-loss (TFL), senior LB Wes Harris’s sack and TFL, Josh Black’s 16th sack of the season and a TFL, and the beforementioned Jake Hampton who added a TFL in addition to his interception.
The Titans scored in the second quarter on a 4-yard TD run by senior RB Deon Thompson who rushed 13 times for 70 yards, TBT’s lone bright spot on offense.
Junior QB Deon Cain who ran for the 2-point conversion left the game after the 1st Half with an injury.
With this loss, Tampa Bay Tech was eliminated from the playoffs and record falls to 6-3 (3-2).
Sickles will play the runnerup in District 7A-8 in round one of the playoffs and the 7A-8 Champion and Runnerup will be decided Monday night in a 3-way tiebreaker between Strawberry Crest, Plant City and East Bay.
By Don Haggard and Jordan Haggard