FOOTBALL: The Charlotte-Port Charlotte showdown through the years

Updated Oct. 27, 2016

Charlotte and Port Charlotte have met on the gridiron every year since 1982, including once already this season. The Tarpons hold a 31-4 edge entering this Friday’s game hosted by the Pirates.

Here’s a look at how the last 35 meetings have played out:

Charlotte 42, Port Charlotte 0: Billy Midgett threw a touchdown pass to Alex Guzman for the first score in the series. The Tarpons used a balanced attack to roll over coach Dave Lantz’s young Pirates, who didn’t have any seniors.

Charlotte 39, Port Charlotte 0: More than 3,000 fans witnessed the dedication of Pirates Cove but Charlotte’s Dennis Stokes ruined the debut with 152 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Port Charlotte halfback Tim Hornish rushed for 139 yards.

Charlotte 28, Port Charlotte 14: At Tarpon Stadium, the Pirates dominated Charlotte in almost every statistic, including turnovers. Charlotte sophomore Lavell “Hippie” Cudjo picked off Port Charlotte junior quarterback Mike Hayes twice, once in the end zone, and the Pirates fumbled out of the Tarpon end zone to stop another drive. The 3-7 Pirates closed a 21-0 halftime deficit to 21-14 on touchdowns from Henderson McCullough and Keith Locker.

Charlotte 38, Port Charlotte 3: At Pirates Cove, Cudjo bedeviled the Pirates again, scoring three touchdowns. The Tarpons got 104 yards rushing and a touchdown from Doug Brown. Don Poort added a score to even Charlotte’s record at 5-5. Port Charlotte finished the season 0-10.

Charlotte 7, Port Charlotte 0: The teams met in Punta Gorda to settle the Coral Coast Conference Championship. Charlotte’s Jason Crain turned a screen pass from Cudjo into a 69-yard scoring play in the first half. Thomann kicked the extra point for the game’s final score.

Charlotte 23, Port Charlotte 6: Charlotte coach Jim Refosco made his debut as the series returned to the home of the favored Pirates, who were looking for their first winning season. The Pirates’ lone score came on a 21-yard pass from quarterback Gregg Marsh to Malcolm Hart. Charlotte’s Jason Crain rushed for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns and finished with 96 yards. Charlotte finished 5-5, but Port Charlotte went to the Pecan Bowl, where it lost to Wakulla in Monticello.

Charlotte 25, Port Charlotte 0: Charlotte quarterback Darin Hinshaw threw for three touchdown passes, including a pair of 9-yarders to Wes Wankelman, who had two fourth-quarter interceptions for the 7-3 Tarpons. The Pirates finished 0-10.

Charlotte 24, Port Charlotte 0: Hinshaw, who went on to rewrite the record book at the University of Central Florida, threw two touchdown passes to John Russell and ran for another to improve Charlotte’s record to 9-1. Pirates running back Jason Hamm rushed for 54 yards.

Port Charlotte 14, Charlotte 12: Pirates quarterback Brian Cann connected with Chris Varisco on the most celebrated touchdown pass in Port Charlotte history — it gave the Pirates their first victory in the series. Charlotte, which won the district crown, dropped to 8-2. Port Charlotte, under first-year coach Tom Mut, finished 5-5.

Charlotte 34, Port Charlotte 9: Charlotte’s Jones rushed for 232 yards and five touchdowns, including scoring runs of 32 and 34 yards, as Charlotte (8-2) trounced the Pirates (2-8) at the Cove. Manny Harris blocked a Charlotte punt and teammate Chris Vassel recovered the ball in the end zone for the Pirates’ lone touchdown.

Charlotte 24, Port Charlotte 10: The Pirates (5-5) led the host Tarpons 3-0 on a Mike Hillis field goal. But Charlotte’s dynamic duo of Derrick Jones and Willie Burroughs combined for 199 yards and three touchdowns, including two fourth-quarter scores, to ice the Tarpons’ eighth victory in 10 games.

Charlotte 25, Port Charlotte 22: Charlotte (6-4) held off a late Pirates’ rally to set up a three-way tie for the final district playoff spot with Port Charlotte (7-3) and Bradenton-Bayshore. Charlotte’s Derrick Jones rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Donnie Marcum, Scott Hornish and Anthony Mathis scored for Port Charlotte.

Charlotte 14, Port Charlotte 10: At Port Charlotte, Charlotte (4-6) clinched its first playoff berth in five years when the Tarpons stopped a late drive by the Pirates (3-7). Port Charlotte, which scored on a safety and a fumble recovery by Chad Shepard, saw its last drive stopped by a fumbled snap on fourth-and-5 at the Tarpons’ 9. Charlotte’s Mike Alvarez fell on the loose ball to clinch the win.

Charlotte 41, Port Charlotte 7: At Port Charlotte, running the option on a dry field, junior quarterback Jason Cunningham rushed for a career-high 157 yards on 11 carries and scored three touchdowns. Port Charlotte’s Joe Nicolosi, who was looking to become the first 1,000-yard rusher in school history, gained 52 yards on 22 carries to end 14 yards short. Port Charlotte fell to 3-7 in its only year under coach Casey Coons.

Charlotte 37, Port Charlotte 3: The host Tarpons became the first team in school history to finish the regular season unbeaten at 10-0. Cunningham again proved to be a thorn in the Pirates’ side with 135 rushing yards and two touchdowns runs. The Charlotte defense, led by Desguin, Kevin Kramer, Spenser Stockbarger and Sharod Williams, held Port Charlotte to 62 yards. Port Charlotte ended 1-9.

Charlotte 56, Port Charlotte 7: At Tarpon Stadium, in the most lopsided game of the series, the Tarpons (9-1) got four touchdown passes from J.C. Savasuk and four touchdowns from Chris Dodge. David Hawes (11-for-19 for 124 yards) passed for the Pirates’ lone touchdown, a 6-yarder to Andy Wells. Port Charlotte finished 2-8.

Charlotte 38, Port Charlotte 6: For the first time, the schools — Charlotte at 8-1 and Port Charlotte at 7-2 — played for the District 5A-12 title. The Tarpons scored the first 38 points before more than 5,000 fans at Pirates Cove. Brett Sifrit’s 142 rushing yards and three touchdowns led a Charlotte running attack that amassed 256 yards on the ground. It was the final rivalry game under Tarpons coach Eric Moore, who was replaced by assistant coach Binky Waldrop.

Charlotte 20, Port Charlotte 10: The Tarpons rallied from a 10-point deficit for the win and Sifrit was again a big cog in their victory. The senior fullback rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns, most of the yardage coming in the second half. Both teams made the playoffs but lost in the first round.

Charlotte 61, Port Charlotte 25: The Tarpons made it 10 straight victories with the largest offensive output of the series. Charlotte quarterback Jeff Corsaletti completed 12 of 16 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 89 yards on 12 carries and one touchdown as the Tarpons finished with 496 yards of total offense. The Tarpons advanced to the playoffs and finished 7-4. The Pirates finished 2-8.

Charlotte 20, Port Charlotte 17: Charlotte took a hard-fought victory, holding off a Pirate rally. Port Charlotte outgained the Tarpons 409-345, but Charlotte took a 20-6 lead. The Pirates rallied to cut the margin to 20-17. Charlotte’s Joe Scola put the game out of reach with a 57-yard run. Both teams finished the regular season with 7-3 records, but only Charlotte advanced to the playoffs, qualifying as a second-place team.

Charlotte 42, Port Charlotte 7: Charlotte quarterback Justin Midgett put on a brilliant display in the pocket, completing a season-best 29 of 43 for 326 yards and two touchdowns in Charlotte’s District 4A-10 rout of the Pirates before an estimated 7,000 fans. Charlotte went on to a 13-1 record and the state semifinals. Port Charlotte finished with a playoff berth and an 8-3 record, a school record for victories.

Charlotte 42, Port Charlotte 10: The Tarpons rushed for a season-high 245 yards and Wayne Campbell and Cody Milburn connected five times, including twice for touchdowns as Charlotte clinched a playoff berth for the 10th straight season.

Charlotte 38, Port Charlotte 10: Then Florida Governor Jeb Bush was on hand as the Pirates and Tarpons, who were sharing Port Charlotte High School because Charlotte High School was closed after sustaining damage from Hurricane Charley on Aug. 13, renewed their rivalry at a refurbished Wally Keller Field under portable lights supplied by Musco. The Tarpons captured the District 4A-11 title and their 11th straight playoff berth. Junior receiver Lance Francis caught a career-high nine passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns.

Charlotte 21, Port Charlotte 10: Port Charlotte lost leading rusher Jason Wood while Charlotte lost linebacker Hunter Reed, each to high ankle sprains. Port Charlotte moved the ball effectively but bogged down in the red zone and Charlotte cooly nabbed its 15th consecutive win in the series.

Charlotte 6, Port Charlotte 0: In a series that has always been long on offense, the lowest-scoring chapter in the history was decided on a fumble. Charlotte’s Nick Alexandrou recovered a Randy Bianchi fumble with 53 seconds to play, killing a Port Charlotte drive and preserving victory at Pirates Cove.

Port Charlotte 28, Charlotte 19: Port Charlotte forced three turnovers, each leading to touchdowns as the Pirates earned a cathartic, streak-snapping victory in their rivals’ backyard. All three turnovers occurred inside the Tarpons’ 25-yard line. The Pirates won for just the second time in series history and snapped a 16-game series losing streak in the process.

Charlotte 28, Port Charlotte 7: Charlotte secured second place in District 5A-11 and a subsequent playoff berth with its win at Pirates Cove. Held to just three yards of total offense in the first half, Charlotte rebounded with 315 yards (242 rushing) and 28 points in the second half. The Pirates’ lone touchdown came on a 30-yard pass from senior Sam Thurston to wide receiver Patrick Paul.

Charlotte 51, Port Charlotte 7: In the second-largest rout in series history, Charlotte’s Mike Bellamy pounded Port Charlotte for 22 yards on 10 carries, scoring three touchdowns. The win secured an unbeaten run through District 4A-10 for the Tarpons (8-1, 3-0).

Charlotte 49, Port Charlotte 9: The Tarpons returned two punts for touchdowns in the first quarter, a 70-yarder by Mike Bellamy and a 65-yarder by Alex Mut and Mut caught three touchdown passes from Zach Hammond to improve to 9-0 on the season.

Charlotte 21, Port Charlotte 7: After the Pirates jumped out to an early lead on Zach Wheeler’s touchdown pass to Dane Harris, the Tarpons responded with two long runs before halftime. a 71-yard ramble by Jordan Washington and a 76-yard sprint by Clyde Newton to clinch a District 7A-11 title.

Port Charlotte 13, Charlotte 0: It was a strong Pirate defensive effort — holding Tarpons runner Clyde Newton to 47 yards — that lifted Port Charlotte to their first shutout win in the series. Pirates quarterback Traige McClary had one touchdown run just before halftime and threw a second-half touchdown to Paulsin Heitter to force a district tiebreaker, won by Charlotte.

Port Charlotte 33, Charlotte 28: The Pirates clinched their first football district championship in school history as Traige McClary and Martin Luther each rushed for two touchdowns and Ian Tyler ran for 169 yards and added another score. Port Charlotte linebacker Jake Hobbs had an interception to kill Charlotte’s final drive.

Charlotte 26, Port Charlotte 14: Charlotte snapped the Pirates’ two-game winning streak in the series as Elijah Mack rushed for two second-quarter touchdowns as the Tarpons clinched No. 2 playoff seed out of District 7A-11. It eliminated Port Charlotte from the playoff hunt.

Charlotte 58, Port Charlotte 8: The Pirates used two D’Vonte Price fumbles to open up an eight-point lead before a safety on Devin McCormick’s punt out of the back of his own end zone sparked a run of four Port Charlotte turnovers and 58 unanswered Tarpons points. Quarterback Brennan Simms totaled three touchdowns and running back Maleek Williams ran for two as Charlotte clinched the district title.


Charlotte 41, Port Charlotte 17: In the first-ever postseason matchup between these rivals, Charlotte running back Elijah Mack rushed 22 times for 143 yards and all five of the team’s touchdowns in a 41-17 win over Port Charlotte in the Region 6A-3 semifinal, booking Charlotte’s trip to Naples for the next week’s regional final.

— From Staff Reports

One thought on “FOOTBALL: The Charlotte-Port Charlotte showdown through the years

  1. Pingback: 2015 Year in Review | SUNCOAST SPORTS NOW

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