By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
Miami Carol City set the tone for Friday night’s Class 6A semifinal on its first two possessions of the game.
On those drives, the Charlotte defense had its chances to get off the field without allowing points. The Tarpons were a play away in both possessions from getting a three-and-out after forcing a third-and-10 play on the first drive and third-and-9 on the second.
The Chiefs had gains of 25 and 19 yards, respectively, on those two plays to keep the drive going for eventual scores.
BIG PLAY SWITCH
Most of the season, Charlotte found ways to win by gaining big chunks of yards at a time. Against Carol City, they only had three plays exceeding 10 yards.
One was a run by D’Vonte Price of 16 yards on the first play of a drive in the first quarter, and the other two of 37 and 15 yards, respectively, came with a running clock trailing 39-0.
The Chiefs had five runs and 10 passes gain 10 or more yards
Charlotte had trouble moving the ball all night thanks to a stout Carol City defense. The Tarpons gained just six first downs on the night, three of which came at the aid of a penalty by the Chiefs, who had 15 first downs.
The Chiefs had six different receivers catch a pass with four of them making multiple receptions. QB Marlon Smith did most of his damage in the first half, totaling 191 yards on 10 completions.
Many times he would throw a deep jump ball, and his receivers would find a way to come down with it. The biggest example of that came on a 46-yard Hail Mary to Terrence Horne Jr. in closing seconds of the first half that resulted in a 33-0 cushion.
LOSS AT HOME
This was the first time that Tarpons fans watched the home team lose in Punta Gorda since a November, 2014 loss against Fort Myers. Including the playoffs, Charlotte won 17 games at home over that span.