Fort Meade’s Miners celebrated Homecoming Friday night at Battle Field with a 24-19 win over the Class 7A Hornets of Haines City.
The Class 3A Miners would get things started on defense, holding the Hornets on four plays. Following an 11-yard punt the Miners took over at the Haines City 31.
Eight plays later Jack Cortez booted a 38-yard field goal to give the Miners a 3-0 lead with 6:50 left in the first quarter.
The teams would exchange several possessions with the Miners punting the ball away to the Hornets midway through the second quarter. Hornet star Dacorius Law took the Cortez punt at his own 41-yard line and raced through the Miner defenders for a go-head score as the Hornets led 7-3 with 6:55 left in the first half.
The Miners would try to respond, driving to the Haines City 25-yard line, but would turn the ball over on downs. The Hornets would lose eight yards on four plays and lost possession when Hewitt Grant sacked the Hornet quarterback, forcing a fumble that he recovered for the Miners.
Taking over at the Hornet 15 the Miners would need just three plays to take the lead with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Jay Smith to Tobias Culpepper. The kick by Cortez was good and the Miners led 10-7 with 1:31 left in the half.
The Hornets would expire the clock and kick to the Miners to open the second half.
Isham Alexander would take the kickoff and return it to the Miner 29. A nice 17-yard run by Ryan Fulse would move the ball to the Miner 46 where Smith would work his magic again. Finding Chris Morris with a step on the Hornet safety, Smith hit Morris in stride with a 46-yard bomb. Cortez was true and the Miners led 17-7 with 11:09 left in the third quarter.
After a strange kickoff scenario where it appeared the Miners had recovered an onside kick, the Hornets were given possession at the Miner 39. Five plays later Law crashed into the end zone for a touchdown, but Alexander would block the key extra point, leaving the Miners with a 17-13 lead with 9:10 left in the third.
Following a 45-yard punt return by Culpepper, the Miners would take over at the Hornet 30. Seven plays later Fulse darted in from seven yards out to expand the Miner lead to 24-13 with 1:03 left in the third period.
The Hornets would respond with a 15-play scoring drive to narrow the margin to 24-19 with 5:32 left in the game. A two-point conversion pass failed as the Miners held on to the five-point lead.
The Hornets chose to kick the ball away, but it would be their undoing as Fulse would carry the ball eight times for 52 yards to consume the clock.
Jay Smith would finish the game on his knee in the victory formation as the Miners improved their record to 3-0 heading in to next week’s big clash with rival Bartow.