Playoff Hopes Still Alive After Knights’ 44-27 Win

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor

After a 44-13 blowout at the hands of the Jesuit Tigers last week, the Knights were in a desperate situation. Needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, Robinson (5-4) rode a 44-point outburst to a 44-27 victory over Spoto (2-7) on Friday night.

“We executed better in the first half than we have all year,” said Robinson head coach Shawn Taylor.

Quarterback Najee Fitzgerald (’17), starting in the place of an injured Malik Tyson (’16), got things going early, finding J.J. Henderson (’16) for a 55-yard touchdown on the third play from scrimmage. The Knights then extended the lead on a 22-yard touchdown run by Anthony Krouse Jr. (’17).

Spoto fought their way back to a 14-8 deficit with a touchdown and a two-point conversion, but Fitzgerald hit Henderson for a 35-yard score and then Marcus Tomlin (’16) for a two-yard no-look touchdown pass over his head to open up a 28-8 lead for the Knights. The junior quarterback completed just five of 15 passes on the night for 107 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Henderson caught two passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns and David Stevens (’16) rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Despite the 44 points, Robinson still struggled with turnovers, committing five on the night.

“Najee stepped up at quarterback tonight,” said Taylor. “Henderson [was] all over the field.”

The Spartans came out clicking to start the second half, cutting the deficit to 31-21 early in the third, but Iyan Mitchell (’16) put the finishing touches on the victory with a punt return in the third quarter. The win sets up a do-or-die showdown with Jefferson (2-6) next week. With both teams at 2-1 in district play, the winner of next week’s matchup will take 5A-10’s final playoff spot.

“We don’t ever quit,” he said. “They know if we win the next two they get another shot at Jesuit and they want it.”

Kickoff for Friday night’s district clash is set for 7:30 p.m. at Jack Peters Field on the campus of Robinson High School (6311 S Lois Ave, Tampa, FL 33616).