THE ROAD TO NO. 1
A weekly look at Fort Pierce Central’s run to the Class 4A state championship in 1971
GAME 6: JOHN I. LEONARD
OCT. 22, 1971 / LAKE WORTH
Final score: Fort Pierce Central 36, John I. Leonard 7
Capsule: Top-ranked Fort Pierce Central breezed past John I. Leonard behind three touchdown passes from quarterback Cleaver Hayling and a stifling run defense that forced two turnovers and limited the Lancers to 13 rushing yards and 49 total yards.
Key plays: Hayling, who accounted for three TDs against Palm Beach Gardens a week earlier, was 8-of-13 for 207 yards, including scoring passes of 18 and 66 yards to Ray Issac and a 30-yarder to Mike Latimer … Terry King and Willie Smith added second-half touchdown runs for the Cobras, who improved to 6-0 … The Cobras set the tone with a 19-play, 95-yard drive that consumed nearly nine minutes. Hayling’s TD pass to Latimer on fourth-and-19 capped the drive … After John I. Leonard fumbled on the first play after the kickoff, the Cobras drove 40 yards for a 14-0 lead.
Stats that matter: Through six games, the Cobras had yet to allow an opponent to rush for 100 yards … Henry Melton led Cobras running backs with 65 yards on 13 carries … Leonard had just three first downs and 49 total yards.
Sound bite: “Central has the quickest and strongest team I have seen this year and that includes Suncoast.” — John I. Leonard coach Hugh Brady
Etc.: Defensive end Don Latimer (shoulder) and defensive back Larry Mitchell (knee) missed the game with injuries … The Cobras finished with 384 total yards.
Did you know? The win was Central’s 12th in a row in the regular season.
Class 4A/3A Top 17 (Oct. 24 1971): 1. Fort Pierce Central (6-0), 2. Jacksonville-Raines (4-0), 3. Tampa-Robinson (5-0-1), 4. Belle Glade-Glades Central (6-0), 5. Miami Norland (5-1), 6. Merritt Island (6-0), 7. Sanford-Seminole (5-1), 8. Coral Gables (4-1), 9. Pensacola-Washington (6-1), 10. Tampa-Hillsborough (4-1), T10. Lakeland-Kathleen (5-1).
Next up: At Twin Lakes, Oct. 29, 1971