TAMPA — It was more than a tough night at the office for the North Port Bobcats.
The Tampa Catholic Crusaders raised their record to 4-1 and did it in grand fashion on homecoming night against the Bobcats, with a 67-0 victory.
The Bobcats, who appeared on the verge of turning their season around with a 42-35 overtime loss the previous week to Lakewood Ranch, were overwhelmed by Tampa Catholic on both sides of the ball.
After posting two shutouts in their four previous games, including an authoritative 58-0 victory against Land O’Lakes last Friday, the Crusaders scored another decisive victory. It was the third time this season the Bobcats have been shutout.
The Crusaders wasted no time scoring on the opening kickoff as D.J. Taylor returned the ball 97 yards for a touchdown.
On their next possession, Dylan McCain found Marcellus Cructchfield in the end zone. Tampa Catholic was relentless with a punishing running attack orchestrated by Antonio Hill, setting up another touchdown reception, this time it was Tim Young snaring a pass from McCain.
The Bobcats did stop the Crusaders at fourth and 1 on the North Port 3 during the opening quarter.
The Crusaders continued to score in the second quarter. This time it was A.J. Williams returning a punt 35-yards for a touchdown. A blocked punt by Edward Zanato provided Tampa Catholic with an additional opportunity, and running back Lewis Carter scored on a 15-yard touchdown run.
McCain threw his third touchdown of the evening to a different receiver, this time completing a 27-yard scoring play to to Jamie Smiley to make it 41-0.
Raphael Ekechi carried the momemtum that much further for the Crusaders scampering for a 57-yard score, providing Tampa Catholic with a 47-0 halftime lead.
A running clock was in play during the second half. Xavione Washington rushed for a 21-yard touchdown keeper to open the scoring in the third quarter. Washington then flashed his arm with a 13-yard strike to Dominic Reaves.
Key plays: D.J. Tyalor returns the ball on the opening kickoff for a 97-yard touchdown.
McCain completes a 15-yard touchdown pass to flankerTim Young for a 15-yard touchdown.
A.J. Williams 35-yard punt return touchdown.
Key stats: Raphael Ekechi had four carries for 81 yards and a touchdown. Marcellus Crutchfield three receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown. Dylan McCain was 6 of 11 fo, 92 yards and three touchdowns.
What it means: This is the fifth consecutive loss for the Bobcats. North Port has five games remaining and will face their first district opponent next week, Lehigh, the Bobcats third consecutive game on the road.
Quotes: ”Tampa Catholic is a good football team,” said Brian Hatler North Port football coach, “I thought we came out very flat. You have to give them credit. They have good athletes and they did a good job. You have to move on from it and get ready for district play which we start next week. We have to put this one behind us and get back to work on Monday.”