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Semifinal Bound

Semifinal Bound

The Jesuit football express kept rolling along Friday (Nov. 27), as the Tigers cruised to their 13th straight win, captured the Region title, and advanced to the Class 5A state semifinal with a 42-0 win over Fort Myers Dunbar at Corral Memorial Stadium.

Next Friday (Dec. 4), Jesuit hosts Orlando Bishop Moore with a berth in the state championship game at stake. Last season, Bishop Moore defeated Jesuit 30-29 in double overtime in the Region Final in Orlando. Bishop Moore downed Hallandale 51-46 on Friday to win its Region.  

For Jesuit, it was a complete team effort in the trouncing of Dunbar. The Tigers scored two defensive touchdowns (Travell Harris ’17 and Rodney Higdon ’17), grinded out a solid running attack led by Malik Davis ’17 (120 rushing yards) and Nick Perillo ’16 (two rushing touchdowns), and mixed in an efficient passing game from quarterback Danny Boon ’17 (pictured on the homepage), who was 7-for-8 in the first half as the Tigers staked a 28-0 lead.

The 13 straight wins is a first in Jesuit football history. Twice the Tigers have reached the state championship game, winning the title in 1968 and finishing as runner-up in 1992.

During the first half Friday, Davis surpassed Mo Harris (2,083 in 1992) for the single-season school rushing record and now has 2,148 on the campaign. Davis also broke the single-season touchdown record he had shared for a week with Aaron Fryer ’03, scoring his 27th touchdown of the season on a short run late in the first quarter.

Earlier this season Davis broke the Jesuit career rushing record (surpassing Will Glover ’99; Davis is now over 4,000 yards) and single-game rushing record (357 vs. Tampa Catholic, surpassing Harris’ 289).

Travell Harris opened the scoring Friday with a weaving 40-yard interception return in the middle of the first quarter. On Jesuit’s next possession, Boon hit Davis with a swing pass, and Davis bolted 71 yards down the sideline to the 5 yard line. Two plays later Davis scored to make it 14-0.

The defense repeatedly provided good field position, and Jesuit capitalized with two short second-quarter scoring drives, both of which culminated in 1-yard runs by Perillo to establish the four-touchdown halftime cushion.

The defense dominated the third quarter, and Jesuit applied the icing in the fourth. Davis ripped off a 40-yard run to set up a 1-yard touchdown sneak by Boon, and then defensive end Mike Swenson ’17 swiped the ball free from a Dunbar (10-3) runner, and Higdon scooped it up and dashed 40 yards for the final score with a few minutes to go.

Higdon also had an interception, as did Dane Belton ’19, and Sergio Farina ’16 had a fumble recovery. Zack Quilty ’16 and Nick Leone ’16 led the defensive surge up front.

So far in the playoffs the Tigers, led by third-year head coach Matt Thompson, have won by scores of 31-8, 38-7, and 42-0, a combined 111-15, an average score of 37-5. Jesuit has notched five shutouts in 13 games, and no opponent has scored more than 20.

View a photo slideshow below from Friday's game, along with videos of Jesuit's pregame pump-up and post-game Alma Mater.

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