ZEPHYRHILLS — The Zephyrhills Bulldogs gave up a safety and lost four fumbles, yet escaped with a 17-9 win over Mitchell at Bulldog Stadium on Friday night.
With the victory, the Bulldogs are now 3-0 for the first time under coach Reggie Roberts’ four-year tenure.
“We had all those fumbles, and that’s something we’ve got to fix by next week,” Roberts said. “That’s a game we would’ve probably lost last year. Everyone knows that we need to fix it.”
The Bulldogs’ offense didn’t find the end zone until late in the fourth quarter when quarterback Tyler Kirby hit Jordan Roberts for a 30-yard touchdown pass. Roberts, however, played sparingly Friday, hampered by a groin injury.
“Jordan is about 65 percent, and I just asked him to run one play for me,” Reggie Roberts said. “He made the most of it.”
Zephyrhills jumped out to a 10-0 lead on Mitchell (after a 22-yard field goal by Zach Gleaton and an 8-yard interception return by Brandon Sanchez.
The Mustangs (2-1) forced four fumbles, including one that Dan Mason returned 49 yards for Mitchell’s only touchdown on the night.
“It’s real disappointing (that the only points we go off the turnovers),” Mitchell coach Scott Schmitz said. “We had a number of opportunities and didn’t get it done.”
The Mustangs struggled offensively, with star running back Christian Trinidad being held to just 69 yards on 23 carries, then starting quarterback Alec Lambert, who threw two interceptions, was knocked out with a sprained ankle.
Mitchell scored on a safety after a botched snap, when Gleaton kicked it through the end zone.
“Our defense has carried us these first three games,” Roberts said. “But good football teams win games like this.”
Mitchell 0 0 7 2 — 9
Zhills 0 10 0 7 — 17
Z — FG Gleaton 22
Z — Sanchez 8 INT return (Gleaton kick)
M — Mason 49 fumble return (Schwindt kick)
M — Safety
Z — J. Roberts 20 pass from Kirby (Gleaton kick)