Zephyrhills stretched its winning streak to four games after handling Gulf Friday night at Bulldog Stadium 35-13 in front of a full house of fans and plenty of future Bulldogs.
“I think it’s good that we find different ways to win every week,” said Zephyrhills head coach Nick Carroll. “We did it in different areas.
The Zephyrhills Athletic League youth football and cheer program were special guests Friday night and led the Bulldogs out of the tunnel prior to the game.
It took a balanced offense and more quality defense for the Bulldogs to move to 4-1 on the season at the halfway point. Zephyrhills quarterback Brendyn Colella was 14-of-25 for 179 yards and two touchdown; one to DJ Pickett for 35 yards and another to Teddy Sands for 18 yards. Picket finished the game with seven receptions for 127 yards.
“Four in a row feels good and it shows the work we put in but there is still a lot of word to do,” Pickett said. “After that first loss to Lake Wales, we came together as a team and worked harder.”
The rushing game put out 178 yards with Tristain Lennon scoring a pair of touchdowns and Rodney Smith adding another. Smith led the Bulldogs in rushing. The Bulldogs ran the ball with five different backs and worked four receivers into the game plan.
“We wanted to throw the ball a little bit more in the first half and we got a bunch guys involved,” Carroll said.
Joining the special teams’ game plan Friday was senior kicker Chloe Price with her first action of the season. Price handled a kickoff that was able to put the Bucs in difficult field position.
“I couldn’t see how far it went,” Price joked. “I kicked it and then stopped. Fortunately we made the tackle on the return.”
The defense came up big with key turnovers to keep the Bucs from gaining any momentum. Smith added a fumble recovery and Jaylen Smith added an interception. Gulf put together one big drive that ate up nearly 10 minutes in the third quarter.