By Bruce Robbins, Sun Correspondent
ENGLEWOOD — Victor Mellor’s 22-yard touchdown catch with seven seconds remaining gave Lemon Bay a 49-42 victory over North Port on a wild senior night at Veterans Stadium Friday.
After Jamarcus Turner’s 3-yard TD run with 2:31 to play tied the game at 42-42, the Manta Rays took over at their own 28 with no timeouts and used 10 plays to drive the length of the field. On a third and three play, quarterback Hayden Wolff threw a square out to Mellor at the 10 yard line.
“My thought was catch the ball and get out of bounds,” Mellor said. “The corner went up for the ball and I just jumped. He tipped it and I kept my eyes on it and caught it and dove into the end zone for the touchdown. You can’t ask for a better game on Senior Night.”
Lemon Bay took a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter and looked like it would cruise to a victory before the Bobcats came back and tied it at 14-14 at halftime. North Port kept the momentum and led 28-20 after three quarters.
But Brayden Curry’s 15-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth quarter and subsequent two-point conversion run tied the score at 28-28. The mantas then recovered an onside kick and a 1-yard TD plunge by Curry gave Lemon Bay a 35-28 lead with 7:54 to play.
North Port needed a little over a minute to tie the score again on a 15-yard TD strike from Devon Allen to C.K. Poulos. Then Hunter Weir returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a score to put the Mantas back out in front 42-35. The Bobcats answered with a 65 yard, eight play drive capped by Turner’s third TD of the night to tie it again at 42-42.
Curry carried the ball 39 times for 169 yards and four touchdowns for Lemon Bay. Weir added 114 yards on 13 carries, while Mellor caught 5 passes for 80 yards.
Allen was 14 of 30 passing for 220 yards for North Port. Poulos hauled in 8 catches for 107 yards and Skylar Razwiliavich had four catches for 71 yards. Allen also ran for 72 yards on eight carries while Turner had four rushes for 70 yards and three scores and Javon Howell added 67 yards on 10 carries.
Lemon Bay finishes with a 3-7 record, while North Port, with its second last-minute loss in three weeks, finishes 1-9.
LEMON BAY 49, NORTH PORT 42
North Port 0 14 14 14 – 42
Lemon Bay 7 7 6 29 – 49
LB – Brayden Curry 8 run (Summer Rusher kick)
LB – Curry 1 run (Rusher kick)
NP – Octavious Cummings 1 run (Cade Koerick kick)
NP – Javon Howell 13 run (Koerick kick)
NP – Jamarcus Turner 25 run (Koerick kick)
LB – Hunter Weir 11 run (run failed)
NP – Turner 42 run (Koerick kick)
LB – Curry 15 run (Curry run)
LB – Curry 1 run (Rusher kick)
NP – CK Poulos 15 pass from Devon Allen (Koerick kick)
LB – Weir 90 kickoff return (Rusher kick)
NP – Turner 3 run (Koerick kick)
LB – Victor Mellor 22 pass from Hayden Wolff (Rusher kick)
First Downs 17 22
Rushing Yards 22-229 57-278
Passing Yards 220 112
Comp-Att-Int 14-20-1 7-15-2
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 12-75 3-25
Rushing: North Port: Allen 8-72, Turner 4-70, Howell 10-67, Cummings 4-23, Poulos 1-(-3); Lemon Bay: Curry 39-169, Weir 13-114, Lydic 3-0, Wolff 2-(-5).
Passing: North Port: Allen 14-20-1-220; Lemon Bay: Wolff 7-15-2-112.
Receiving: North Port: Poulos 8-107, Razwilavich 4-71, Bradford 1-35, Osipov 1-7; Lemon Bay: Mellor 5-80, Weir 1-27, Curry 1-5.