Victory Christian forced three turnovers and shutout Zephyrhills Christian 12-0 on Friday in the Class 2A, Region 2 semifinals at Victory Field on the campus of Southeastern University.
LAKELAND — Victory Christian forced three turnovers and shutout Zephyrhills Christian 12-0 on Friday in the Class 2A, Region 2 semifinals at Victory Field on the campus of Southeastern University.
“It was ugly, but I will take it,” said Victory coach Kendrick Stewart. "I am thankful to God we were able to come out of there with the win. This was such a tight game and our defense would not fold. We have a lot of work to do to get ready for next week but we are thankful to play again.”
Victory knew coming into the game they would need to stop the Warriors’ leading ball carrier Alonzo Sampson, who entered the game having gained 1,079 yards this season. Sampson gained only 53 yards on 12 carries as the Storm permitted only two sizeable gains — 14 and 12 yards, respectively — to hold Sampson in check on his other 10 carries.
Near the end of the first quarter, the Storm were the beneficiary of a short 17-yard punt, taking over at the Warrior's 38 yard line. Eddie Hopkins gained 14 yards on a couple of carries, but a fumble pushed the ball back to the 30-yard line. Quarterback Jeremiah Byrd connected with Bradley Clark down the middle of the field to give the Storm a 6-0 with 10:33 remaining in the second quarter.
Both teams struggled to mount successful possessions throughout the game. Victory began its final possession with 5:43 remaining and grinded out a couple of first downs, leaving the Warriors only 1:06 and 80 yards to score.
Jacoby Braxton completed passes of 17 and 23 yards down to the Victory 40-yard line, scrambling for 17 more yards to the 23-yard line with 24 seconds remaining.
Looking over the middle, his pass was intercepted at the 5-yard line by Ja'quan Randolph, who took the ball down the left sideline 95 yards for the game’s final margin of 12-0.
Victory Christian will host the regional final Nov. 17 against Lecanto Seven Rivers Christian.