Southeast didn’t have several members of its excellent defense on Friday night against Sarasota Booker. Their absence — for one night, at least — didn’t hurt much.
The Seminoles shut down the Tornadoes in a 26-8 road win to keep their playoff hopes alive going into the final week of the season. The victory was their third in a row in the series and their eighth in the past 10 games against the Tornadoes, who play host to Braden River on Monday.
“Those kids on defense have been awesome,” Seminoles coach Rashad West said.
The Seminoles were without six players who were suspended for four games following an incident in the handshake line last week against Wauchula Hardee. Southeast, citing privacy concerns, declined to publicly name the players, but defensive backs Lee Martin Jr., Damon Poole and Damien Washington and outside linebacker Ced Brooks Jr., all seniors, weren’t listed on the team’s roster and didn’t appear to play Friday.tw
“It’s been tough for them, those kids that aren’t here with us,” West said. “I feel for those guys. We had some seniors, so that’s been tough for those kids. Our kids in the locker room, it’s been tough because those are their friends. It’s been an adjustment. It’s been a long week, but it’s good to go play another game so we can talk about that instead of this.”
The Seminoles (6-1, 4-1 in Class 5A-District 11) hurt themselves with penalties and three lost fumbles, two by senior running back Latrell Peavy. However, Peavy rushed 18 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback Alex Taylor finished 14 of 20 for 225 yards, which included a 67-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jattorious Galloway.
The Seminoles, who allowed just 79 points over their first six games, limited the Tornadoes (3-6, 3-2) to 52 yards through three quarters and 99 for the game. Southeast limited an opponent to eight points or fewer for the fourth time this season.
Southeast entered Friday with an opportunity to win the 5A-11 championship, needing a victory and a Hardee loss to DeSoto County. Hardee, however, beat DeSoto County 34-0.
Still, the Seminoles remain in contention for an at-large berth into the playoffs. They close the season at home at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Harmony, a team they haven’t played before.
“Let’s just worry about next week and see what happens,” West said. “Let’s not count next week until we play next week.”