TERRIERS 28 STINGRAYS 7
RIVERVIEW – Efficiency.
Joseph Sipp Jr. was all about it Friday night at Sumner.
The Hillsborough senior and Colorado State commit touched the ball four times and he celebrated three touchdowns during the Terriers’ 28-7 Class 6A Region 3 semifinal win at Sumner.
Seeded No. 7 in the region, Hillsborough now gets a rematch against No. 1 Jesuit. The Tigers, who rolled to a 49-9 home win over Bradenton Braden River Friday, went on the road Sept. 17 and beat Hillsborough 28-7. (Check out the Tampa Beacon recap of that Week 4 District 6A-10 game here: https://www.tampabeacon.com/sports/football-quick-starts-propels-jesuit-past-hillsborough/article_1fec746e-1842-11ec-a76f-cf4a52f43c99.html).
“We’re ready for them boys,” Sipp Jr. said while walking off Sumner’s turf field.
The senior helped set the tone Friday when he turned the second snap of the night into a 70-yard touchdown run.
Region No. 3 Sumner, a second-year program, picked up the school’s first-ever playoff win last week by hanging on to an 8-6 win over Northeast. The Stingrays kept their poise early after Sipp Jr.’s quick strike and tied the game 7-7 midway through the second quarter on a 5-yard run by quarterback Greg Smith.
The Sumner sophomore’s 10th rushing score of the year capped a 12-play drive, the first of three Stingrays’ possessions of 11 plays or more and the only one that resulted in points.
Hillsborough ran 22 fewer plays than Sumner but used the big-play strategy to control Friday night’s action. Jacquez Gibson gave the Terriers the lead for good three offensive plays after Smith tied the game at 7-7 when the sophomore blasted off for a 54-yard touchdown run.
That represented the start of Hillsborough taking control. The Terriers defense forced a quick three-and-out and then a fumble on Sumner’s ensuing punt gave Hillsborough possession at the Stingrays 12. Sipp Jr. took care of the rest, taking a handoff on the first snap to the house.
Hillsborough showed their aggressiveness late in the first half after forcing another quick three-and-out. Quarterback Shaun Joshi, who took over midseason for injured starter Caleb Pierce, moved the Terriers deep into Stingrays territory before Sumner junior Kylen Webb ended the threat by grabbing an interception and returning it to the Terriers 30 with 2 seconds left in the half.
Down two scores as opposed to three heading into halftime is a big difference, but that score didn’t last long. The Hillsborough defense forced another three-and-out on Sumner’s opening second-half possession. Then the Terriers partially blocked a punt and Laterrian Hicks returned the deflection to the Sumner 5. Then Mr. Efficient, a.k.a. Sipp Jr., took the next snap across the goal line.
That score put Hillsborough on top 28-7 with 9:30 remaining in the third quarter and that’s where the score would stay until the final whistle.
“The main key was just playing hard and playing physical the whole way through,” Sipp Jr. said, after leading a rushing attack that accounted for 230 of the Terriers’ 292 total yards. “They’re a beginning team and they played us really hard, but we stayed physical throughout and kept the game plan simple.”
Hillsborough outgained Sumner 292-189 Friday night and the Terriers defense recorded four sacks (two by Keshawn Davila) and an interception. Senior Patrick Mooney (two catches for 58 yards) ended an 11-play Sumner drive in the third quarter by snagging the pick near the goal line.
Gibson joined Sipp Jr. as the Terriers’ top rushers, picking up 80 yards and a score on seven carries. Hillsborough didn’t throw the ball in the second half and Joshi completed 3 of 6 passes for 70 yards.
Smith led the Stingrays with 56 yards rushing and the touchdown, adding 89 more yards on 10 of 16 passing. Junior running back Kylen Webb gained 39 yards on 11 carries.
Sumner ends its impressive second season 9-3 overall and head coach Alonzo Ashwood will return much of this year’s talent in 2022.
Hillsborough (10-2) will head to Jesuit (12-0) next Friday for the FHSAA Class 6A Region 3 final. The winner of that game will take on the winner of Region No. 3 Miami Northwestern (9-3) and No. 8 Plantation (9-2). Northwestern beat No. 2 Naples 49-35 and Plantation beat No. 4 Coconut Creek 42-7.
Friday's victory snapped a six-game losing streak in the region semifinals for Hillsborough. The Terriers haven't advanced to a region final since 2004.
HHS – 7 – 14 – 7 – 0 --- 28
SHS – 0 – 7 – 0 – 0 --- 7
HHS – Sipp Jr. 70-yard run. Kick (Hubbard) – 1st Q
SHS – Smith 5-yard run. Kick (Elsner) – 2nd Q
HHS – Gibson 54-yard run. Kick (Hubbard) – 2nd Q
HHS – Sipp Jr. 12-yard run. Kick (Hubbard) – 2nd Q
HHS – Sipp Jr. 5-yard run – Kick (Hubbard) – 3rd Q
TEAM STATS: (Unofficial)
HHS – Sipp Jr. (4-89, 3 TD), Gibson (7-80, TD), Covington Jr. (9-40).
SHS – Smith (14-56, TD), Webb (11-39), Spencer (6-20).
HHS – Joshi (3-6 for 70, INT).
SHS – Smith (10-16 for 89, INT).
HHS – Mooney (3-58), Bailey (1-12).
SHS – Ray (3-36), Haugabook (2-26).