PALM HARBOR — Artavis Scott turned in a three-touchdown night and running back Weston Fordham added two on the ground as East Lake pounded nearby rival Palm Harbor University, 49-0.
The star-studded Eagles brushed off last week's 38-7 Kickoff Classic loss to national power Bradenton Manatee with a dominating performance Friday night.
“We're on a mission,” Scott said. “We came together as a team during the summer and we've just got to push it every time. That's what we did; we came out here and showed it.”
East Lake outgained host PHU 430-108 and pulled away with a 21-point second quarter.
Scott (five carries for 92 yards) and Fordham (seven for 141) compiled all their yardage during the first half.
Scott, a four-star recruit verbally committed to Clemson, scored on runs of nine and 26 and added a flashy 89-yard kickoff return to open the second half. Primarily used as a receiver in the past, Scott said he likes the new opportunities to line up in the backfield.
“Yeah, it's bringing back some little-league memories. I like it a lot. It feels good to get some touches like that and score a little bit.”
Fordham found the end zone on two big runs of 30 and 47 yards, leading the Eagles' 312-yard rushing performance.
East Lake coach Bob Hudson credited his stout offensive line, anchored by highly touted left tackle Mason Cole, for controlling the trenches throughout.
“Those guys are good. We've got two new guards but the other four counting the tight end are back. [Improving the running game] was our big thing and we put it on their backs this offseason.”
PHU struggled to find any offensive rhythm after its 10-play, game-opening drive ended with an interception by Blake Duckworth at the East Lake 19. The Hurricanes never crossed midfield the rest of the night.
Dual-threat quarterback Tyler Kaminski led the 'Canes with 47 yards on 16 rushing attempts and running back Stephen Charron added 34 yards on eight carries.
Kaminski and the PHU passing attack proved to be a non-factor. The senior signal caller completed 2 of 13 attempts for zero total yards. East Lake's athletic secondary received plenty of help from a pass rush that often found its way into the PHU backfield.
The Eagles' lockdown defensive effort forced PHU into 10 punting situations. Those also led to East Lake starting many drives with fantastic field position because 'Canes punters were trying to kick to the sidelines to avoid the Scott looming as the return man.
While East Lake didn't need to air it out much on offense, the Eagles did get one long score in the third quarter. Starting quarterback Jake Hudson hit another of East Lake's top recruits, George Campbell, with a pass over the middle and Campbell took care of the rest, going 71 yards for the score. The hookup came less than three minutes after Scott's 89-yard kick return.
Overall, Hudson and fellow quarterback Brandon Swift combined to go an efficient 5 of 7 for 125 yards.
The boost of confidence comes at an opportune time for East Lake. The Eagles stay on the road next week and travel to perennial-power Largo High for another non-district battle.
PHU gets to regroup and stay at home, welcoming Boca Ciega to town.
EL - 7 – 21 – 21 – 0 --- 49
PHU - 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 --- 0
EL – Scott 9-yard run. PAT kick (LaCamera) – 1st Quarter (1:04)
EL – Fordham 30-yard run. PAT kick (LaCamera) – 2nd Quarter (5:11)
EL – Scott 26-yard run. PAT kick (LaCamera) – 2nd Quarter (2:52)
EL – Fordham 47-yard run. PAT kick (LaCamera) – 2nd Quarter (1:39)
EL – Scott 89-yard kickoff return. PAT kick (LaCamera) – 3rd Quarter (11:45)
EL – Campbell 71-yard pass from Hudson. PAT kick (LaCamera) – 3rd Quarter (9:18)
EL – Couto 10-yard run. PAT kick (LaCamera) – 3rd Quarter (1:31)
EL – Fordham (7-141, 2 TD), Scott (5-92, 2 TD), Couto (8-61 TD).
PHU – Kaminski (16-47), Charron (8-34).
EL – Hudson (2-4 for 82, TD), Swift (3-3 for 43).
PHU – Kaminski (2-13 for 0, INT).
EL – Campbell (1-71, TD), Kozma (2-31).
PHU – Tinsley (1-4).