FOOTBALL: Charlotte rallies late to beat Port Charlotte, capture District title

By Jordan Kroeger and Bryan Levine

The Charlotte Tarpons celebrate their win over the Port Charlotte Pirates with a score 21-17 on Friday evening (Sun Photo by Jennifer Bruno).

The Charlotte Tarpons celebrate their win over the Port Charlotte Pirates with a score 21-17 on Friday evening (Sun Photo by Jennifer Bruno).


IN A NUTSHELL: Charlotte rallied from 17 points down to defeat Port Charlotte 21-17 to capture the District 6A-10 title. Andrew Grace recovered Maleek Williams’ fumble for the go-ahead score midway through the fourth quarter for the game’s only points of the second half. The Tarpons found themselves back in the ball game when they scored two touchdowns in a span of 28 seconds right before halftime.

DID YOU SEE THAT: Charlotte drove down to the one-yard line trailing 17-14 midway through the fourth quarter and handed the ball off to Williams. The Arkansas commit went barreling towards the end zone, but had the ball knocked away when he reached for the goal line. Andrew Grace was there to scoop up the loose ball for the Tarpons, and run with it for a yard, giving his team the lead for the first time all night.

THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN: Port Charlotte drove down to Charlotte’s 41-yard line in the final two minutes of the game, but quarterback Paul Barnes threw an interception to Dee Hicks near the 20-yard line  Barnes’ third turnover of the game. The Tarpons were able to run the clock down to seven seconds remaining before a long Kenny Scribner punt ended the game, despite some Pirate desperation trickery on the return.

UNSUNG HERO: Jordan Deackoff came away with one of the biggest plays of the game right before halftime. After Williams scored a 10-yard touchdown with 1:06 to go in the first half to get Charlotte on the board, Barnes fumbled on Port Charlotte’s next play and Deackoff recovered for the Tarpons. That set up Hicks’ 13-yard touchdown pass to Lavell Cudjo two plays later to pull the Tarpons to within three points seconds before halftime.

THEY SAID IT I: “I’m not going to single anybody out. I made some bad calls. That’s the bottom line. It comes down to I didn’t make the right decisions. Our kids did everything you could ever ask of them. Not a single ounce of blame should be put on those young men. I didn’t get the job done and that’s the bottom line.”– Port Charlotte coach Jordan Ingman.

THEY SAID IT II: “It gave us a little something to build on. If we don’t do that, it’s tough. We had to find away to come out after being beat up in the first half, but it gave us a little lift and put us back in the game.” – Charlotte coach Binky Waldrop on the end of the first half.


Charlotte 0 14 0 7 – 21
Port Charlotte 10 7 0 0 – 17


First quarter
PC – Devyn McCormick 21 FG, 5:00
PC – Barnes 1 run (McCormick kick), 2:55

Second quarter
PC – Barnes 24 run (McCormick kick), 4:44
CH – Maleek Williams 10 run (Kenny Scribner kick), 1:06
CH – Lavell Cudjo 13 pass from Dee Hicks (Scribner kick), 0:38.3

Fourth quarter
CH – Grace 1 fumble return (Scribner kick), 6:21

                                CH                  PC
First Downs                15                   8                             
Rushes/yds            41-156           38-144                        
Passing yds              106                 84
C-A-I                        9-13-0             4-7-2
Fumbles/lost             2-0                  2-1
Penalties/yds            6-50                2-20


Individual stats
 Charlotte: Maleek Williams 22-81-1, Andrew Grace 6-22-1, Savorion Warren 2-21, Lavell Cudjo 4-18, Dee Hicks 6-9, Ny Harvey 1-5; Port Charlotte: Marc Jean-Louis 14-97, Ernest Harvey 5-25, Paul Barnes 13-24-2, Shawn Campbell 4-4, Davon Keyes 1- -1, T.J. Luther 1- -5.
Passing: Charlotte: Dee Hicks 9-13-1; Port Charlotte: Paul Barnes 3-6-48, Marc-Jean Louis 1-1-36.
Receiving: Charlotte: Jacob White 6-85, Lavell Kudjo 1-13-1, Travon McClary 1-7, Ny Harvey 1-1; Port Charlotte: Shawn Campbell 1-36, T.J. Luther 1-38, Marc Jean-Louis 2-10.

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