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Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Sickles captures first district football title

TAMPA — It took 16 years, but thanks to a great running back (Ray Ray McCloud III), a dynamic quarterback (Issac Holder), a tough offensive line and a swarming defense, Sickles High was able to finally capture the first district football title in school history.

The Gryphons (8-1, 5-0) finally sealed it Friday night with a 35-8 victory against Tampa Bay Tech (6-3, 3-2), giving Sickles the Class 7A-District 7 crown and homefield advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

“It’s great for the kids and great for the school and that makes me happy,” Sickles coach Brian Turner said. “But every year my goal is to win a state championship and that means we have more work to do. I think we have the kids and the attitude to get a lot more accomplished.”

On Friday, there was plenty of praise to go around, but a good place to start would be McCloud, who finished with 29 carries for 248 yards and four TDs, including a fourth-quarter 53-yard sprint that proved to be the final nail.

“I felt like I was about to break a long one all night because they were getting me with shoestring tackles,” said McCloud, who has more than 1,700 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns through nine games.

Holder also had many spectacular moments Friday, including the Gryphons’ second play from scrimmage, a 44-yard touchdown pass to Jaaron Barrett — a play that seemed to ignite the entire Sickles squad.

In the next 4 minutes, Sickles defensive end Josh Black got the team’s second sack, linebacker Jake Hampton picked off a pass and returned it 44 yards inside TBT’s 10, and McCloud scored on a 2-yard run.

Tampa Bay Tech 0 8 0 0 — 8

Sickles 21 7 0 7 — 35

S - Barrett 44 pass from Holder (Lezotte kick)

S - McCloud 2 run (Lezotte kick)

S - McCloud 2 run (Lezotte kick)

S - McCloud 2 run (Lezotte kick)

TBT - Thompson 4 run (Cain run)

S - McCloud 53 run (Lezotte kick)

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