By Bruce Robbins, Sun Correspondent
(This story did not make Saturday’s editions of The Sun)
NORTH PORT — After rallying for five touchdowns in the second half of last week’s game against Bayshore, North Port couldn’t sustain the momentum against a strong Palmetto defense, falling to the Tigers, 35-0, in a Class 7A-District 11 match up Friday night.
The Tigers posted their third consecutive shutout in holding the Bobcats to just 120 yards of offense. Meanwhile, Palmetto put together several long, time-consuming touchdown drives to keep the ball out of North Port’s hands.
“They’re a good football team and we moved the ball well at times,” Bobcat coach Brian Hatler said. “When we stayed ahead of the sticks we were able to operate effectively. But when we had negative plays or hurt ourselves with penalties, it’s very difficult to overcome that against a good defensive football team.”
North Port spent all of its time in its own territory in the first half, not crossing over onto the Tigers side of the field until the third period.
“Our kids will continue to battle and that’s what you’ve got to do,” Hatler said. “When you’re playing against a quality football team and you make mistakes, they’re going to take advantage of it and that’s what they did.”
After North Port picked up one first down on its opening possession, Palmetto took over at its own 26 yard line and put together an 11 play, 74 yard drive to take a 7-0 lead. Jason Spicer completed a 17-yard pass to Isiah Washington to move the ball to the 3-yard line, and Elijah Davis took it over from there.
Later in the first quarter, a 54-yard dash by Johnny Jones down the left sideline set up his 2-yard TD run two plays later to make it 14-0 with 44 seconds to go in the period.
The Tigers only had to move 50 yards for their next score in the second quarter following a short Bobcat punt. Facing a 3rd-and 13 from the 20 yard line, Spicer tossed a screen pass to Davis, who raced to the end zone behind a convoy of blockers to make it 21-0.
Palmetto got on the board one more time before halftime following an interception by Desmine Ross at midfield. Again on third and long, Spicer completed a screen pass to Jones, who went 31 yards before being dragged down at the 1-yard line. Spicer snuck over from there to make it 28-0 with 28 seconds to go in the half.
The Tigers were stymied on their first possession of the second half, and a Bobcat punt was downed at the 1 yard line moments later. But Palmetto put together an 18 play, 99 yard march to make it 35-0 with 43 seconds to go in the third quarter and start a running clock. Jones and Spicer did most of the work. Jones carried seven times in the drive and caught three passes, while Spicer was 5 of 6 passing, finishing the drive with a 4-yard TD pass to Ademola Adedea.
Palmetto is now 6-1 on the year, 3-0 in district play. North Port falls to 1-6, 0-3.
PALMETTO 35, NORTH PORT 0
Palmetto 14 14 7 0 — 35
North Port 0 0 0 0 — 0
P — Elijah Davis 3 run (Alfredo Manriquez kick)
P — Johnny Jones 2 run (Manriquez kick)
P — Davis 20 pass from Jason Spicer (Manriquez kick)
P — Spicer 1 run (Manriquez kick)
P — Ademola Adadea 4 pass from Spicer (Manriquez kick)
First Downs 19 9
Rushing Yds. 45-240 21-48
Passing Yds. 122 72
C-A-I 10-16-0 6-17-2
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-Yds. 7-50 5-35
Rushing: Palmetto: Jones 21-124, Spicer 9-44, Myrick 7-36, Davis 6-28, Garcia 1-5, Marino 1-3; North Port: Allen 12-30, Cummings 6-9, Howell 3-9.
Passing: Palmetto: Spicer 10-15-0-122, Marino 0-1-0-0; North Port: Allen 6-17-2-72
Receiving: Palmetto: Jones 4-60, Adedea 2-9, Davis 1-20, Washington 1-17, Brown 1-9, Garcia 1-7; North Port: Howell 2-12, Poulos, 1-29, Koerick 1-13, Bosma 1-10, Cummings 1-8.