SHARKS 32 EAGLES 25

BROOKSVILLE – When you’re down 15 points with less than a minute to play, you should probably be packing up your gear and getting ready to fight another day.

Somehow, someway, East Lake managed to make that situation interesting Friday night.

The Eagles trailed host Nature Coast Tech 32-17 and were watching the Sharks offense take knees inside their own 5-yard line to run out the clock. Nature Coast nearly fumbled one of those kneel-downs away before turning the ball over on downs.

East Lake quarterback Matt Trotto took the next snap and hit Jack Sebesta for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 2 seconds on the clock.

NCT 32 East Lake 25

Then East Lake recovered an onside kick and the officials allowed one more play from inside Sharks territory.

All of a sudden, a sure NCT win turned into something else.

East Lake got a play off and Trotto hurled a Hail Mary downfield. It didn’t find its mark, but it was a heck of a rally.

The Sharks survived and get to open their season 1-0. East Lake fell, but the Eagles got after it till the final whistle against a solid opponent.

Friday night’s Week 1 opener was tight throughout.

East Lake took a 14-13 lead into halftime when Trotto barreled his way into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown run on the last play of the second quarter.

The Sharks took the lead and kept it for good on the second possession of the second half. Senior Michyl Shaw jumped a Trotto pass and returned it for a 35-yard touchdown.

East Lake cut NCT’s lead to 19-17 with Michael Tsombanidis’s 33-yard field goal on its next possession but the Sharks responded with a much heavier counter-punch.

Junior Kinyatah Morgan fielded the ensuing kickoff and torched the covered for an 88-yard touchdown return.

NCT extended its lead to 32-17 early in the fourth quarter when senior Lenkel Smith slid around the left side and took off for a 65-yard touchdown run.

East Lake attempted to respond on its next possession, but its 12-play drive stalled out with a turnover-on-downs at the Sharks 2-yard line.

Still down 32-17, the Eagles got inside the NCT 5 again before fumbling possession away with 1:45 left on the clock.

The aforementioned last-ditch effort ensued from there, but it came up just short.

East Lake will get back at it with another tough challenge next week when it hosts in-county foe Clearwater. The Tornadoes picked up a 28-18 win Friday night over Palm Bay Heritage.

NCT’s Week 2 opponent is high-quality, as well. The Sharks will stay home again and host Bushnell South Sumter. The Raiders opened with a 45-0 win over Eustis.

SCORING:

EL - 7 – 7 – 3 – 8 --- 25

NC - 7 – 6 – 12 – 7 --- 32

EL – Swetokos 29-yard pass from Trotto. Kick (Tsombanidis) – 1st Q (7:04)

NCT – Hall 75-yard pass from Burnett. Kick (Florkowski) – 1st Q (5:35)

NCT – Teague 23-yard pass from Burnett. 2 pt. fail – 2nd Q (8:25)

EL – Trotto 1-yard run. Kick (Tsombanidis) – 2nd Q (0:00)

NCT – Shaw 35-yard INT return. Kick fail – 3rd Q (7:58)

EL – Tsombanidis 33-yard FG – 3rd Q (5:36)

NCT – Morgan 88-yard KO return. 2 pt. fail – 3rd Q (5:16)

NCT – Smith 65-yard run. Kick (Florkowski) – 4th Q (10:57)

EL – Sebesta 10-yard pass from Trotto. 2 pt. run – 4th Q (0:02)

TEAM STATS:

----------------------EL------- NCT

First Downs----------16---------10

Atts./Rush Yds.---37-135----32-156

Comp./Atts./Int.---13-31-2----9-13-0

Passing Yds.--------221-------171

Net Yards----------356-------327

Fumbles/Lost-------1-1-------2-1

Punts/Avg.---------6-42.0---5-30.8

Penalties----------16-127-------14-120

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS:

RUSHING

EL – Cunningham (14-65), Hansen (9-29).

NCT – Smith (5-82, TD), Morgan (10-23).

PASSING

EL – Trotto (13-31 for 221, 2 TD, 2 INT).

NCT – Burnett (7-10 for 127, 2 TD), Sykora (2-3 for 44).

RECEIVING

EL – Swetokos (4-112, TD), Sebesta (4-74, TD).

NCT – Hall (2-115, TD), Smith (4-32), Teague (1-23, TD).

PINELLAS SCORES

Clearwater 28 PB Heritage 18

Dixie 13 PHU 10

Dunedin 44 Keswick 23

Northeast 57 Tarpon 0

Calvary 49 Melbourne CC 28

Berkeley Prep 21 CCC 14

Bogie 44 Gibbs 0

Lakewood 48 St. Pete 0

Largo 7 Braden River 2

Osceola 40 Gulf 0

Palmetto 27 P. Park 7

SPC 35 CDS 14

N-Side Christ 42 Shorecrest 12

Brad Christ 41 IRC 0

St. Stephens 23 Farragut 19

Clearwater Acad. 68 Immokalee 6

PASCO SCORES

Mitchell 49 Anclote 7

River Ridge 25 Crystal River 0

Osceola 32 Gulf 6

Fivay 44 Lecanto 22

Hudson 6 Tenoroc 0

(Pasco at LOL ppd.)

Wesley Chapel 19 Cypress Creek 0

Springstead 53 Sunlake 0

Wiregrass 43 Z-Hills 13

Christ’s Church 56 Bish McL 7

Lake Placid 47 Z-Hills Christ 20