HOLIDAY — Tarpon Springs got the last word.
The Spongers emphatically let it be known which team owns this young rivalry, traveling five miles up the road to wipe out Anclote, 31-0.
“It’s a little different brand of football when you cross the river,” Tarpon Springs coach Ron Hawn pointedly said of his program located on the Pinellas County side of the Anclote River. “We looked good. We played hard and our guys deserve it.”
After plenty of back-and-forth chatter leading up to this Class 5A region quarterfinal, Tarpon Springs (7-4) was the team backing it up on the field. The Spongers held Anclote (6-5) to only 38 yards of offense while piling up 297 .
Senior Montel Johnson and junior Michael Ford led the charge for Tarpon Springs, accounting for three of the Spongers’ four touchdowns. Johnson scored on receptions of 38 yards and 33 yards, respectively, and totaled 121 yards of offense.
“He should be on the North County all-star team, without a doubt,” Hawn said of Johnson, his dynamic playmaker.
Ford cracked the century mark rushing for the fifth time this season, picking up 145 yards on 23 carries. His team up 3-0 early, Ford jumpstarted a 21-point Spongers second quarter. The junior started the drive by bursting through the middle for 42 yards and then finished it on the next play with his 15-yard scoring run.
The Spongers move on to play 5A-Distrct 8 champion Lakewood next Friday. The Spartans, who smashed Hudson 75-19 on Friday, won the teams’ regular-season matchup 46-21.
T. Springs 3 21 0 7 — 31
Anclote 0 0 0 0 — 0
TS – FG Zervos 32
TS – Ford 15 run (Zervos kick)
TS – M. Johnson 38 pass from Battyanyi (Zervos kick)
TS – M. Johnson 33 pass from Battyanyi (Zervos kick)
TS – Battyanyi 5 run (LaCamera kick)