Former Zephyrhills coach and athletic director Craig Milburn gave the Bulldogs an inspiring pregame speech. They took the legendary coach’s words to heart and destroyed Cypress Creek 53-13 to claim the Class 3A-Suburban, District 7 title.
The first time the Bulldogs touched the ball on the opening kickoff, Fred Adams went 93 yards for a touchdown and the Bulldogs held a 7-0 lead just 13 seconds into the game setting the tone of what was to come.
“Coming out here knowing the district title was on the line tonight, it was real important to us to go out and play fast, not make mistakes and score first,” said Rivera. “We executed on offense and defense and we did really well with the pass.”
That kickoff return was the first of three touchdowns for Adams, who had the best game of his high school career.
“They talked crazy on the internet and I told my boys to stay humble,” Adams said. “We came out and I wanted to be a beast and make a difference for my team. This is my first time being a district champ, I’m feeling good.”
Zephyrhills’ defense came to play taking four turnovers from the Coyotes in the first quarter.
By the time clock ticked down on the first quarter, the Bulldogs rolled to a 26-0 lead thanks to Adams kickoff return, Maddox Rivera’s interception and rushing touchdown, Rodney Smith’s TD run and a 38-yard TD reception for Jakobe Campbell from Brendyn Colella.
“We got something that we saw and we took it,” Carroll said. “
During the week, there was plenty of trash talk on social media from Cypress Creek players. The Bulldogs stayed humble and let their play do their talking.
“They were doing all the talking but you see how it went,” Rivera said.
Carroll had advice for his player about all the talk.
“We didn’t want to talk bout it. We wanted to be about it,” Carroll said. “We had a chip on our shoulder. I told the kids that if they don’t write about you, if you win, they have to write about you.”
Tristan Lennon had a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown. Colella hit Adams again, this time with a 30-yard TD strike. Sophomore DJ Pickett got in on the scoring with a TD reception from Colella and Teddy Sands added another TD catch.
By the end of the first half, Zephyrhills had the game wrapped up and secured a running clock in the second half.
Colella hit Adams again in the third quarter for a 43-yard TD reception to round out the scoring.