Catholic High started fast in its first district game of the season Friday, scoring a pair of touchdowns in less than 10 minutes. But by missing two extra points, the Crusaders left Florida High a window of opportunity, and with a second-quarter touchdown, the Seminoles took it.
Before they could even celebrate, though, Kerrick Teamer slammed it shut once and for all.
On the ensuing kickoff return, the sophomore ran it 97 yards for a touchdown. That score along with the two-point conversion that followed widened the gap Catholic held until the end, on its way to a 26-7 victory.
“I just had some good blocking, and then when I hit the outside, I just knew I was gone,” said Teamer, who also had 51 yards receiving. “(I felt) a little bit (of pressure), but after that I saw the hole, and I was gone.”
Despite giving up 248 yards of offense and one touchdown — scored on a 1-yard run from Kevin Sawyer, Jr. — Catholic’s bend-but-don’t-break defense ruled the night, keeping Florida High out of the end zone on four other trips to Crusader territory.
In fact, it was Catholic’s defense that set the tone Friday, when senior safety Collin Acromite picked off Seminole quarterback Bryson Hill on the very first play from scrimmage.
“I saw the receiver, his eyes real big just staring at me. I was watching film on them and all they do is just throw the ball up, so I was sitting there waiting,” Acromite said. “I just knew it was coming to me. I just got back in my drop, and it was there.”
Tiamanta Purifoy capped that very first drive with a 4-yard touchdown to put the Crusaders (3-3, 1-0) on the board, and Purifoy found the end zone once again on Catholic’s next possession, this time for a 2-yard score.
Following Teamer’s long run, the Seminoles made their way into the red zone as the final second-quarter seconds ticked away, but a Patrick Sanders interception ended the threat and allowed Catholic to take a 20-7 lead into the break.
The Crusader offense slowed in the second half, but the Catholic defense wouldn’t let the Seminoles take advantage. Florida High attempted a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter, but it was wide. The final score of the game came with three minutes to play in the third, when Catholic quarterback Garrett Foley hit AJ Yates with a 42-yard touchdown pass. Foley finished 13-of-28 for 196 yards passing.
The victory, Catholic’s second in a row, was much-celebrated by a Crusader team that took its fair share of lumps to start the season. After the game, coach Greg Seibert reminded his Crusaders that, when it comes to district play, their slate was clean.
And to Seibert, there’s no better feeling.
“There’s nothing that can compare to winning a district game, whether you’re 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, it doesn’t matter,” Seibert said. “To win a district game means that you begin to control your destiny and you get to plan out how the rest of your year can go.”