Escambia High Gators: Escambia High Gators: 10 - Catholic Crusaders: 20

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  Catholic Crusaders 20      
Game Played 10/16/2009 7:30PM  

Pair of big plays push Catholic past Escambia
Crusaders defeat Gators, 20-10
D.C. Reeves • • October 17, 2009

On a night when the Catholic High offense just couldn't click, a pair of big plays saved the day.

The Crusaders needed every bit of a Hail Mary touchdown pass to end the first half and a fourth-and-10 touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to slide past Escambia 20-10 at Emmitt Smith Field on Friday night.

The big plays made up for Catholic's season-low 219 yards of offense.

"I guess you could say we won ugly (Friday). That's about the best way to put it," Catholic High coach Greg Seibert said. "Sometimes you've got to have games where you win ugly."

With Escambia controlling the clock throughout the first half with its pound-it-out running attack, Catholic had only one first-quarter possession and didn't have a positive play from scrimmage until the 5:10 mark of the second quarter. Catholic was outgained 71 to minus-2 in the first 12 minutes.

While Escambia could only muster a field goal on its first two drives that combined for 33 plays and took 17:21 off the clock, Catholic finally found the end zone midway through the second quarter when quarterback Shaun White dove in from one yard out, giving the Crusaders a 7-3 lead.

Leading by the same margin with only five seconds left in the half, Catholic had the ball at the Escambia 45 with the clock running. Seibert decided to use a timeout for one more heave to the end zone.

The decision worked.

Rolling to his left to avoid pressure, White fired a pass across his body and found receiver Devin Dukes in the end zone to make it 13-3 at the half.

"I think I'm the only person on my staff who agreed with (calling the timeout)," Seibert said. "I'm a genius right now, but if (White) would have run out there, gotten sacked, fumbled and got hurt and they run in for a touchdown, then I don't look very smart."

Still 13-3 in the fourth quarter, Escambia got its biggest play of the night from Anthony Abrams as he brought back a 90-yard punt return to make it a game again, cutting Catholic's lead to 13-10 with 6:44 to play.

Escambia forced another Catholic punt, but a fumble doomed the Gators on the second play of its potential game-winning drive.

The Crusaders took over on the Escambia 14 with 5:31 to go, and on fourth-and-10, White found Evin Smith on a crossing route for the game-clinching score.

"It was just a fight," White said. "It wasn't about game schemes or anything, it was just came down to who wanted it more."

White, the area's leading passer entering Friday, had his worst statistical night of the season, completing just 8-of-20 passes for 120 yards. But the junior was responsible for all three Catholic scores and was on the throwing end of both of Catholic's crucial plays.

With six different players getting at least six carries, Escambia kept it close with 164 rushing yards. Demarius Belcher led the attack with 11 rushes for 60 yards.

"We were way to inconsistent to be going into a district game next week," Seibert siad. "We gave up way too many yards on the ground. Offensively, we can not be hot and cold on offense and continue to be successful.

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