By Andy Warrener
The Laker/Lutz News Correspondent
When the Carrollwood Day School (CDS) and Indian Rocks football teams met last year, the result was 113 points, 1,096 yards and a three-point Patriots loss.
CDS (8-1, 6-1) returned the favor at home Oct. 26, besting Class 2A-District 5 rival Golden Eagles (6-2, 6-2) 28-22.
The Patriots came out of the gate slow, recording –7 yards on their first three drives while Indian Rocks took its first possession 75 yards for a touchdown to go up 8-0.
Penalties plagued the Patriots throughout the game. Add in the Golden Eagles picking off quarterback Vidal Woodruff early and CDS looked on the brink.
The Patriots faced fourth-and-two on their own 48-yard line on the ensuing drive. They executed an inside handoff to Dominic Cuono on a fake punt for the first down.
On the next play, Woodruff hit senior Andy Embody (four catches, 105 yards) on a deep corner route for a 55-yard touchdown to cut the score to 8-6.
Embody helped capture the momentum for CDS by intercepting Matt Kulaga in the end zone. The offense began gobbling up yardage, 38 yards on a one-handed catch by senior Nate Lewis followed by a 38-yard rushing score by senior Robert Davis.
The Patriots rode a 13-0 run into halftime leading 13-8.
Indian Rocks found the end zone on a seven-play, 80-yard drive to start the second half before forcing a turnover and scoring on the following drive to go ahead 22-13. The Golden Eagles pounded the edges and stretched the CDS defense with jet sweeps.
Facing their biggest deficit of the game, the Patriots went to the well again as Woodruff hit Embody for a 24-yard touchdown to get within two points.
The defense then turned Indian Rocks over on downs to set up an eight-play, 64-yard drive capped by Davis’ 15-yard rushing score for the winning margin 28-22.
The Golden Eagles recovered a CDS fumble and drove into Patriots territory, but the defense held on fourth-and-inches.
Indian Rocks got one more chance, but its last drive stalled near midfield.
The Patriots needed at least one more first down to burn the rest of Indian Rocks’ timeouts, and it was Davis who delivered by running 31 yards before being knocked out of bounds at the goal line.
CDS lined up in victory formation and knelt on the last play of the game.
“This was a war,” McLaughlin said. “I feel like I played the game.”
Davis finished with 148 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns. Woodruff was 8 of 15 for 193 yards and two scores.
The Patriots can clinch the first playoff appearance in program history by winning at Cavalry Christian Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m.