Football fans at Bulldog Stadium got to watch two games in one.
Zephyrhills varsity football pitched a shutout against East Lake’s varsity taking a 20-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. Then it appeared like there was a second game where East Lake took a 21-0 advantage
With several of East Lake’s varsity on the field in the third and fourth quarter against Zephyrhills backup and JV players, the Eagles managed to erase the 20-0 deficit to come away with a 21-20 preseason Classic win thanks to a two-point conversion catch by Eagles senior receiver Ty James.
Zephyrhills coach Nick Carroll’s game plan was to play reserve players and junior varsity players the entire second half.
“We were going to play the younger kids from the beginning, that was our plan,” Carroll said.
It was a learning experience for the starters and the reserves.
“We learned that when the young guys get in, you have to boost them up when you can so they keep going,” said Smith. “They never know when your number is going to get called.”
A spectacular touchdown catch by senior Jakobe Campbell and an equally thrilling 82-yard interception return by junior DJ Pickett gave Zephyrhills a 14-0 lead over East Lake in the first quarter of action at Bulldog Stadium.
A gutsy fourth-and-eight call by Zephyrhills late in the second quarter was converted when quarterback Brendyn Colella hit Roe Miller for the first down. A Colella scramble set up a five-yard touchdown plunge by Rodney Smith to give the Bulldogs a 20-0 lead.
“We were able to score tonight and we had flashes,” Carroll said. “Offense comes later. It’s continuity. There is a lot to clean up.”
Carroll and his staff will look to clean up some penalty issues that plagued the Bulldogs in the first half.
“We made it hard on ourselves, penaltywise,” Pickett said. “We must be concerned with that. We just need to play the game like we know how to play.”