By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
FORT MYERS – Eventually, teams are going to learn the lesson: Stay away from “Warren Island” because anything thrown toward it is likely to get gobbled up.
For the second time this season, junior cornerback Savorion Warren picked off three passes, while running back Maleek Williams grinded out 137 yards on 28 carries and the clinching touchdown, as the Charlotte High School football team overcame a slow start to remain unbeaten after a 24-6 victory Friday at Sam Sirianni Field in a non-district contest.
Warren, who had three picks earlier this season against North Miami, said he needed to make plays as his defense was a little shorthanded and got off to a rocky start.
“I had to step up tonight and make the best of it. We came out slow in the first half, but we started executing and played hard,” Warren said.
Warren says he isn’t worried about the receivers as much as he is simply going for the ball. Reading the quarterback’s eyes is the only clue he needs to know where the ball is going before he pounces.
And still, they throw his way.
“All I do is play the ball and come hard. People want to keep trying me and I keep getting picks. If they keep throwing my way, they’ll keep getting picked off.”
Early on (after the start of the game was delayed more than two hours), it was the Green Wave offense that had the Tarpons off balance. Alternating between Dawson Degroot and Ben Stobaugh at quarterback, Fort Myers (2-3) went on a 12-play 57-yard opening drive, with Xavier Perez getting the one-yard touchdown run to make it 6-0 after the missed extra point.
Charlotte (4-0) responded with a nine-play, 80-yard drive that took 4:17 off the clock. D’Vonte Price caught a shuffle pass from Dee Hicks and went around the end for a 12-yard score and a 7-6 lead with 3:20 left in the first quarter.
Warren’s first interception late in the first quarter set up a 45-yard Kenny Scribner field goal to make it 10-6. His second, a diving grab on the sideline halted another Green Wave threat, but the score remained the same at halftime.
The Tarpons blew the game open in the third quarter. Williams, who had been banging heads with the Green Wave defense all night, finally broke loose on a 40-yard touchdown run to make it 17-6 with 3:50 left in the third quarter. Moments later, Andrew Grace caught a bomb behind the Fort Myers defender and rolled into the end zone to conclude the scoring.
Warren would get his third pick in the fourth quarter – and might have had a fourth had he not been tripped up by his own teammate – while Chase Watter recovered a fumble on a bad snap.
Charlotte coach Binky Waldrop was pleased by the way his team rose to the occasion.
“We had some kids who don’t get to play a whole lot step up and play great,” Waldrop said. “That’s why you practice every day. Isaiah Dareus, Miles Hayes and Brandon Mapp all played great tonight.”
CHARLOTTE 24, FORT MYERS 6
Charlotte 7 3 14 0 – 24
Fort Myers 6 0 0 0 – 6
FM – Xavier Perez 1 run (kick failed) 7:37
CH – D’Vonte Price 12 pass from Dee Hicks (Kenny Scribner kick) 3:20.
CH – Scribner 45 field goal 11:50.
CH – Maleek Williams 40 run (Scribner kick) 3:50.
CH – Andrew Grace 45 pass from Hicks (Scribner kick) 2:06.
First Downs 11 9
Rushes-Yards 36-160 32-60
Passing yards 127 67
C-A-I 9-15-1 10-25-3
Fumbles-lost 4-3 2-1
Penalties yards 6-54 30
Rushing: Charlotte: Maleek Williams 28-137, Dee Hicks 4-10, Andrew Grace 3-9 Lavell Cudjo 1-4. Fort Myers: Ben Stobaugh 7-24, Dawson Daroot 13-16, Xavier Perez 10-16, Sias Young 1-2, Milan Tucker 3-2.
Passing: Charlotte: Dee Hicks 9-15-127-2. Fort Myers: Ben Stobaugh 6-20-30-0, Dawson Degroot 4-5-37.
Receiving: Charlotte: D’Vonte Price 3-57, Andrew Grace 4-51, Isaiah Darius 1-7, Lavell Cudjo 1-12. Fort Myers: Milan Tucker 3-28, Jason Estler 1-12, Xavier Perez 1-11, Bensley Bornelus 2-11, Pierre Chery 1-6, Sias Young 2-(-1).