By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
(Check out Friday’s edition of The Sun for our full preview page for Friday’s game.)
CHARLOTTE (7-0) AT PORT CHARLOTTE (7-0)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $5 at Port Charlotte High.
Parking: $5 on campus.
Last week: Charlotte 42, Cape Coral 0; Port Charlotte 38, Island Coast 7
Last season: Charlotte 58, Port Charlotte 8; Charlotte 41, Port Charlotte 17
Players to watch: Charlotte: Dee Hicks (Sr., QB), Maleek Williams (Sr., RB), Savorion Warren (Sr., DB); Port Charlotte: Paul Barnes (Jr., QB), Tiyan “Pop” Bush (Sr., LB), Ernest Harvey (Sr., RB);
What to expect: It’s the game we’ve been patiently waiting for all season. The stakes are as high as they could possibly be: both teams are undefeated with the district championship going to the winner.
BY THE NUMBERS
17 — Charlotte running back Maleek Williams has 17 rushing touchdowns this season, more than double the second-most in the area (Shawn Campbell – 8),
9.9 — The Port Charlotte trio of Marc Jean-Louis, Ernest Harvey and Shawn Campbell are averaging 9.9 yards per carry this season.
23:34/25:16 — These two undefeated teams have only trailed for a short amount of time all season. The Tarpons have been down for only 23 minutes, 34 seconds, with the Pirates not too far behind at 25:16.
33 — The Pirates have only allowed 33 second-half points so far this season.
7 — According to the stats recorded by Maxpreps, nobody in the state of Florida has more interceptions than Savorion Warren’s 7.
22 — The Tarpons defense has recorded 22 sacks this season.
3 — Ernest Harvey is in the top-3 of the area in both rushing (3rd, 598) and receiving (2nd, 255) yards for the season.
0 — Zero times until tonight have these two teams faced off while undefeated this late in the season.
Both coaches are trying to play down the hype, and make it seem like it’s just another district game. But we all know that’s not the case. These players won’t play in an atmosphere during the regular season like Friday night.
The Tarpons lead the series 31-4, but two of the Pirates wins have come in the last five years. Charlotte won twice last season, in the regular season to decide the district title and again in the second round of the playoffs. But these are different teams from a year ago, and both are improved.
Charlotte has a quarterback in Dee Hicks, who can beat you with both his arm and his legs. The Pirates will have to figure a way to contain Hicks and running back Maleek Williams on the zone read. Williams can beat teams with his power, running up the middle for huge chunks at a time. He leads the area with 843 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Port Charlotte counters with a three-headed monster in the ground game between Marc Jean-Louis, Ernest Harvey and Shawn Campbell. Jean-Louis and Harvey are the speed backs, who will finesse their way around the edges, with Campbell powering it between the tackles.
Tiyan “Pop” Bush has really earned that nickname this season, delivering big hit after big hit. Inside linebacker Josh Lindstrom is the team-leader in tackles with 66, and the big linemen of Devin Leacock and Winston Buckley have halted opposing teams’ run games. Leacock has a team-high 10 sacks on the year.
For Charlotte, Savorion Warren has been a ball hawk with seven interceptions and another seven passes deflected. G’Vonte Price and Jordan Deackoff have both limited the other team from running, with Deackoff also getting to the quarterback for six sacks. Cazea Smith leads the team in tackles with 57.
Per game — 14.3
Rushing — 85
Passing — 203
Per game — 12
Fumbles — 7
Interceptions — 13
Cazea Smith — 57
Jordan Deackoff — 6
Savorion Warren — 7
Per game – 44.2
Per game – 11.7
Rushing — 276.9
Passing — 103.9
Interceptions — 1
Fumbles — 7
Dee Hicks: 37-72-733, 8 TD, 1 INT
Maleek Williams: 102-843, 17 TD
Dee Hicks: 26-339, 5 TD
D’Vonte Price: 9-278, 4 TD
Andrew Grace: 21-207, TD
Jacob White: 8-197, 2 TD
Andrew Grace: 10-157, 2 TD
D’Vonte Price: 4-115, 2 TD
Per game — 10.8
Rushing — 134.7
Passing — 146
Per game — 11.5
Fumbles — 5
Interceptions — 9
Josh Lindstrom — 66
Devin Leacock — 10
T.J. Luther — 3
Per game — 40.5
Per game — 15.8
Rushing — 355.7
Passing — 60.2
Interceptions — 0
Fumbles — 7
Paul Barnes: 17-29-389, 5 TD, 0 INT
Marc Jean-Louis: 41-649, 7 TD
Ernest Harvey: 65-598, 5 TD
Shawn Campbell: 67-463, 8 TD
Davon Keyes: 47-306, TD
Paul Barnes: 63-153, 4 TD
Ernest Harvey: 9-255, 2 TD
Marc Jean-Louis: 4-83, 2 TD
Charlotte and Port Charlotte have met in football every year since 1982 with the Tarpons holding a 31-4 edge entering this Friday’s game at the Pirates Cove, which will mark the first time the two teams have met while undefeated.
Here’s a look at how the last 35 meetings have played out, with a synopsis of each game along the way.