TARPON SPRINGS — The question leading up to Friday's showdown between Class 7A-District 9 unbeatens was if Pinellas Park has what it takes to stack up with its more-established host, East Lake.
The Patriots (7-1, 3-1) entered confident their powerful wing-T ground attack, averaging 435.7 yards per game, would be able to control possession and keep the ball out of the hands of the Eagles' offensive weapons.
East Lake (8-0, 4-0) didn't take long to answer that pregame question. Less than seven minutes in, the Eagles were up 14-0 en route to a convincing 42-12 pounding.
The win guarantees East Lake the 7A-9 crown and puts it two games away from completing its first-ever 10-0 season.
“That's the first part of our mission,” senior defensive back Devin Abraham said. “We just have to secure district, play our game and keep progressing every week on our way to the playoffs.”
Abraham represented one of East Lake's many stars on a night that ended with a running clock. The USF commitment returned a pick-6 18 yards late in the third quarter that put the Eagles up 35-6. Abraham ended Pinellas Park's previous drive by blocking a fourth-down pass during an attempted fake punt.
“He is what he is. He's not only a great player; he's so smart, too,” East Lake coach Bob Hudson said. “He's our leader back there.”
Pinellas Park 0 6 0 6 — 12
East Lake 14 7 14 7 — 42
EL – Hudson 1 run (LaCamera kick)
EL – Hansen 14 fumble return (LaCamera kick)
PP – Johnson 6 run (kick failed)
EL – Scott 18 run (LaCamera kick)
EL – Scott 37 run (LaCamera kick)
EL – Abraham 18 interception return (LaCamera kick)
EL – Fordham 16 run (LaCamera kick)
PP – Williams 6 run (conversion failed)