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Saint Stephen's escapes Lecanto in playoff tussle

Fred Billy accounted for seven touchdowns as the Falcons (8-1) left Lecanto with a 56-37 shootout victory over Seven Rivers Christian for a Sunshine State Athletic Conference first-round playoff victory.

Head coach Tod Creneti said it was a team effort win as his club amassed more than 500 yards of total offense. The Falcons dealt with Seven Rivers' double-wing offense that created lots of misdirection and pulled Seven Rivers to within four points in the second half.

The momentum, though, shifted back to Saint Stephen's with roughly five minutes remaining. That's when the Falcons, having failed to convert on a fourth-and-five from Seven Rivers' 7, stood tall on defense to force a turnover on downs. The Falcons then scored to put the game to bed.

That sets Saint Stephen's up with a semifinal game at Boca Raton Christian next week.

Among Billy's seven touchdowns, two were passing to Bobby Harrison (40-yard reception) and Jordan Edwards (60-yard reception). Billy ran in five scores, including a 98-yard touchdown run, as he finished with 16 carries for 212 yards.

LEMON BAY 36, BAYSHORE 7 -- Lemon Bay High School's football team is a district champion for the first time in 12 seasons.

The Manta Rays rolled over visiting Bayshore to raise their record to 7-2 and District 5A-11 record to 4-1.

SEFFNER CHRISTIAN 49, OUT-OF-DOOR ACADEMY 19 -- The Thunder fell behind 35-7 early and never found their footing in a district road loss.

ODA's Dakota Dickerson, a sophomore running back, rushed for a 25-yard touchdown, caught a 17-yard TD pass from quarterback Anthony Squitieri, and added an interception on defense for good measure.

Senior tight end Owen Han added the Thunder's final points on the last play of the game, a 26-yard touchdown from Squitieri.

IMG ACADEMY 50, EASTERN CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 16 -- Ascenders seniors Shea Patterson and Drake Davis tied program records as IMG brought their best in their season finale in a rout over Eastern Christian Academy on Senior Night, 50-16.

Patterson tied the program record for passing touchdowns with 18 (Michael O'Connor and Deondre Francois) and Davis tied the program record with touchdown receptions with seven (Casey Gunderson and K.J. Osborn). At the end of the night, it was an all-senior scoring affair. Patterson led the way with three touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown. Fellow seniors Tony Jones Jr. and Davis each added two touchdowns apiece, and Kerrick Hahn capped the scoring with a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

CLEARWATER CENTRAL 42, CARDINAL MOONEY 14 -- The Cardinal Mooney Cougars suffered their first district loss of the season Friday night as they fell 42-14 to Clearwater Central Catholic. The offensive woes that have plagued the Cougars (2-7) all season proved to be their downfall with a district championship on the line.

-- Herald staff, contributor reports