By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
IN A NUTSHELL: Port Charlotte put themselves in a 14-0 (nearly 21-0 if not for a Clearwater fumble at the goal line) early in the game, and couldn’t get out of it, despite cutting it to a three-point score at one point. The Pirates did it without quarterback Paul Barnes for the most part, who was injured in the second quarter after being sacked on two out of three plays on one drive.
DID YOU SEE THAT: Backup quarterback Alex Muse hit receiver T.J. Luther 40 yards in the air for a 45-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. That score made it 17-14 at the time, and gave the Pirates some momentum in the half, but Clearwater went on a six-minute scoring drive to open the third quarter and set the tone toward a win.
THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN: With 2:47 left in the game, Tornado kicker Shane McDonough made a 20-yard field goal to give his team a 27-14 lead.
UNSUNG HERO: Tiyan Bush. He did a little of everything for the Pirates, trying to get them a win. He played sound defense, including a sack in a big situation. He returned punts, and he even caught a 22-yard pas on the final drive as Port Charlotte attempted to rally.
THEY SAID IT: “We had to settle in. We can’t simulate their speed in practice. As hard as we tried to simulate their speed, we just couldn’t. Once we settled in, our kids played hard the whole way. Once they adjusted to how fast that team is, they played really good football.” – coach Jordan Ingman said.
CLEARWATER 27, PORT CHARLOTTE 16
Port Charlotte 0 14 0 2 – 16
Clearwater 14 3 7 3 – 27
CHS – Jacquez Jones 63 punt return (Shane McDonough kick), 5:24.
CHS – Brannan Demeter 13 pass from Austin Day (McDonough kick), 0:11
PC – Campbell 5 run (run failed), 6:13.
CHS – MCDonough 32 FG, 3:51
PC – TJ Luther 45 pass from Muse (pass good), 1:50
CHS – Jones 27 pass from Day (Mcdonough kick), 5:55
CHS – McDonough 20 FG, 2:46
PC – Safety, 0:23
First Downs 11 12
Rushes-Yards 35-167 30-122
Passing Yards 97 131
C-A-I 5-10-3 17-21-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-1
Penalties-Yards 1-5 3-15
Rushing: Clearwater: Jarius Williams 13-89, Garrett Chisolm 3-11, Austin Day 5-10, Jacquez Jones 6-9, Kane Taylor 1-3; Port Charlotte: Matt McGee 8-63, Marc Jean-Louis 6-42, Davon Keyes 5-18, Shawn Campbell 4-6, TJ Luther 2-4, Paul Barnes 3-(-6), Alex Muse 6-15.
Passing: Clearwater: Day 17-21-131-1; Port Charlotte: Muse 4-10-89-1, Barnes 1-2-8-0, Jean-Louis 0-2-0-0, Tiyan Bush 0-1-0-0.
Receiving: Clearwater: Quan Jones 5-33, Jones 5-39, ,Grant Wilson 1-7, Brannan Demeter 2-15, Tahron Younh 1-4, Trarnar Reece 1-16, Semaj James 2-12; Port Charlotte: Jean-Louis 2-23, Luther 1-45, McGee 1-7, Bush 1-22