Southeast’s speed was the difference as the Seminoles came from behind to defeat Lemon Bay, 21-9, in a Class 5A District 11 football game Friday at Veterans Stadium.
“It helped. It helped a lot, being able to run,” Southeast head coach Rashad West said. “We have some kids who can run pretty well.”
It was a battle of poor field possession early as the teams combined on three safeties, including two by the Southeast defense, which pinned the Manta Rays inside their 2 twice and once more inside their 12.
Southeast (3-3, 3-0) spotted the Manta Rays a 9-0 lead and roared back with 14 points in the second quarter. The Seminoles’ points came on a safety, a touchdown, an extra point, a field goal and another safety.
“That’s Seminole football,” West said. “That’s all 50 guys doing their part. Defense and special teams played well tonight — really well. Our punt team played great. Our kickoff team did a great job returning kicks.”
The Manta Rays (1-6, 0-3) took a 2-0 lead when Southeast’s Qion Burch was tackled in the end zone with 5:22 remaining in the first quarter. On their ensuing possession, the Manta Rays went up 9-0 as Hayden Wolff connected with Brenden Shuman on a 30-yard scoring play with 2:01 left in the quarter and Summer Rusher made the extra point.
“We’ve got to figure out how to start a little bit faster than we did,” West said. “But once we started rolling, everybody was going (strong). We’ve got to figure out how to throw the first punch, so we don’t have to go down that (9-0) road.”
West said one key to the Seminoles’ success is when the offensive line gives quarterback Alex Taylor time to throw the ball. “That was big for us,” he said. “They did some unorthodox things on defense with their pressure, and gave us fits, but we finally got going.”
The Seminoles’ comeback started with quick strikes. Southeast defenders tackled Wolff in the end zone with 9:29 remaining in the first half to cut the deficit to 9-2. One play later Southeast’s Terrance Pryor ran a kick back 55 yards to score. Julio Martinez’ PAT tied the score with 9:20 left in the half.
“Pryor just fielded it, man,” West said. “He got to the wedge. He got to the sideline. He just did a lot on his own.”
The Seminoles took a 12-9 lead with 2:37 remaining in the half when Martinez made a 40-yard field goal. Then the defense forced a safety with 1:08 left to make the score 14-9. Lemon Bay punter Logan Lydic was tackled in the end zone.
Southeast scored its final touchdown on a 19-yard pass from Taylor to Tyler Stevenson with 1:23 remaining in the game. Martinez’ kick was good.
“It was an ugly game,” West said. “But we will definitely take it.”
Southeast 21, Lemon Bay 9
Southeast 0 14 0 7 21
Lemon Bay 9 0 0 0 9
LB – Safety (Burch tackled in end zone). 2-0, 5:22.
LB – Wolff to Shuman, 30 (Rusher kick). 9-0, 2:01
SE – Safety (Wolff tackled in end zone). 9-2, 9:29
SE – Pryor 55 return (Martinez kick). 9-9, 9:20.
SE – Martinez 40 FG. 12-9, 2:37.
SE – Safety (Lydic tackled in end zone). 14-9, 1:08
SE – Taylor to Stevenson 19 (Martinez kick). 21-9, 1:23.