CLEARWATER -- University School’s motto, according to coach Roger Harriott, is to play each game one down at a time and to give a “state championship-type effort.”
Thanks to a 42-0 victory against Clearwater Central Catholic in the Class 3A state semifinal Friday night, the Suns will get their shot at the title next week.
“It was exceptional,” Harriott said. “All three phases of the game, they did a great job.”
Top-ranked University, according to Maxpreps’ 3A Florida poll, reaches the state final for the second time in three years. In 2010, the Suns lost to Trinity Catholic 56-55 in three overtimes in the Class 2B final.
In the first half, University (11-0) jumped out to a 28-0 lead, scoring 21 points in the second quarter.
Senior quarterback Mike White went 21 of 25 for 237 yards and two touchdowns — a 13-yarder to senior Jordan Cunningham and a 37-yarder to freshman Sam Bruce. He finished 26 for 30 with 320 yards.
Cunningham had 11 catches for 135 yards by halftime.
“Mike is awesome,” offensive lineman and defensive tackle Maquedius Bain said.
Both sophomore Jordan Scarlett and junior LaJuan Hunt scored on six-yard runs, with the latter rushing for 89 yards on 11 carries. As an offense, University tallied 136 rushing yards.
It marked the first time since the opening game of the season that the Marauders (11-2) allowed more than 100 yards rushing.
Clearwater Central Catholic mustered just four first downs in the first half, just once making it into Suns’ territory. A drive stalled on the 16-yard line when senior Matt Fosnacht’s 32-yard kick was blocked.
University, which has five shutouts on the year, has not allowed a touchdown in seven of the 11 games.
The Suns will face either third-ranked Madison County or fourth-ranked First Academy (13-0) at 1:07 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
“It’s in our hands,” Bain said. “We just have to go out there and play hard like we did tonight. Every game is the state championship to us, so it won’t be anything new.”