TAMPA – Cambridge Christian’s weaponry proved too much, and despite some early answers from Admiral Farragut, costly Blue Jacket penalties led the Lancers to a 38-14, Class 2A region semifinal win Friday night.
Cambridge Christian (9-0) jumped out to a quick start as quarterback Jaylin Jackson found some running room to the outside and went into the end zone from 9 yards out on the opening possession.
On the Blue Jackets’ first offensive play, a mishandled snap put the ball on the ground where Will Singleton smothered it for the Lancers. Two plays later, Jackson again found running room, scoring on a 16-yard cutback rush to his left.
“That was the side that the guards were pulling to,” Jackson said. “I saw it and accelerated to the touchdown.”
Admiral Farragut (3-5) responded on its second drive with an eight-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 30-yard touchdown strike from Keondrae Miller to Zion Roland. Roland proved a favorite target as he had six catches for 92 yards.
Miller and Roland connected again in the second quarter on a 17-yard score, but before the break Cambridge Christian added a touchdown rush of seven yards from Aaron Pierre and a Jacob Enns 24-yard field goal.
Lancers coach Bob Dare also pointed to his offensive line for making things happen, even in situations where Admiral Farragut had drawn up the right defensive call.
“With our offensive line, it got to the point where they knew what we were running,” Dare said. “You know you are doing well when they know what’s coming and you still find success running those plays.”
The second half began with another turnover by the Blue Jackets as Ricky Mann snagged an interception to set up a short-yardage drive for the Lancers. Jackson found J’Kobi Reddick for a 5-yard score, and the versatile Reddick added a 5-yard scoring rush in the fourth quarter as well.
The Blue Jackets also tallied 115 yards in penalties, killing a trio of drives into Lancers territory in the second half.
On defense, Pierre and Andrew Cunningham (who also added 68 yards as a running back) led a fierce group of tacklers. Aaron Racki recorded a sack and a big tackle for a loss, both forcing fourth downs for the Lancers, and Justin Froelich sealed the win with an interception with just 15 seconds left in the game.
“I knew they were a tough team,” Jackson said. “But we just kept fighting and our defense really stepped up in the second half and that let us pull away.”
Jackson finished with 95 yards passing and 106 yards on the ground for the Lancers, while Mann and Derrick Powell each had 30 yards receiving.
Cambridge Christian, a Class 2A state runnerup last season, will travel to Northside Christian next week in the region finals.