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CRYSTAL RIVER — Crystal River won its second straight game in girls flag football with a 21-12 win Monday over Citrus.
Shirley Kortendick’s scoring run near the beginning of the fourth quarter iced the victory for the Pirates (2-3), who are on a win streak after starting the season 0-3. The team looked much improved than the one that lost the season opener 19-6 to the Hurricanes (2-1).
The Pirates defense tried preventing the long pass, especially to Micah Jenkins, who’s been a favorite target of quarterback Sam Kanawall this season. Jenkins was able to haul in two touchdown receptions, but was shut down late in the game.
“It’s pretty awesome because we really evolved. We were really bad at the start of the season, and now we’re getting to where we can be presentable and win hopefully every game that comes,” Pirates receiver Alexis Priest said.
“It feels amazing because since we lost the first game, it feels great to actually beat our rival,” freshman Shirley Kortendick added. “I feel like we’re going to have a good end to the season.”
Jenkins caught a 28-yard pass from Kanawall with 3:07 left in the first half to give the ’Canes a 6-0 lead after an unsuccessful 1-point conversion attempt. At the end of the first half, Crystal River quarterback Savanah Miller connected with Priest for a 15-yard game-tying touchdown pass.
A successful 1-point conversion gave the Pirates a 7-6 lead. The teams traded scores with a short run by Kortendick and subsequent 1-point conversion, and Jenkins’ second touchdown catch. Citrus was unsuccessful on a 2-point conversion attempt, leaving the score 14-12.
On the ensuing possession with two minutes left in the game, the Pirates ran the ball to eat up clock, with Kortendick running a perfect fake reverse. After taking the ball from Miller, she made like she was going to hand the ball off to teammate Jasmyne Eason — a popular team play — and instead tucked the ball and ran down the near sideline.
The ’Canes defense fell for the fake and Kortendick picked up a 15-yard gain to the Citrus 7. On the very next play, she hauled in a pass toward the back of the endzone for the final score.
After its defense prevented a last second desperation drive by the ’Canes, Pirates players mobbed each other in celebration as time expired, jokingly giving one of their coaches a “Gatorade shower.”
Panthers blank Rams
The Lecanto flag football team evened its record to 2-2 on the season with a 44-0 drubbing of Tampa Bay Christian Academy Monday at home.
Stephanie Bandstra scored three touchdowns to lead the Panther attack. She had one receiving, one rushing and one interception return for a score.
Maya Shah also returned an interception for a touchdown, while Fabiola Andrade, Anabel Marchildon and Rebekah Paprzycki each had one touchdown.
The Panthers are back in action Thursday at home against Crystal River.