While certainly not the plan, the bye week arrived at a judicious juncture for the Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School football team.



While certainly not the plan, the bye week arrived at a judicious juncture for the Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School football team.

Given the disruption to the school and practice schedule from Hurricane Irma, having extra time in the calendar before Rutherford comes to visit next week seemed a suitable antidote.

“We are very fortunate to be 3-0 right now and have a bye with a week as disjointed as this one,” said Port St. Joe coach John Palmer. “We’ve had some kids who evacuated, some who stayed. Some of their families are dealing with a clean-up.

“Sometimes we lose sight of the big picture as football coaches, concerned about the next game, the next win. I wanted them to have this time to be with their families and deal with what they may need to deal with.”

Meanwhile, after three regular season games and a kickoff classic, the bumps and bruises are part of the deal in football, another reason the bye arrived on time.

“We are bruised up a bit, so in some ways this may help with that,” Palmer said.

The Tiger Sharks could hardly be in better shape, undefeated with some previously injured players returning and manning critical roles.

Khayyon Zaccaro has returned from a shoulder injury to provide an inside rushing threat on offense and a stout linebacker in the middle of the defense.

Quarterback Josh Butts has also returned from a shoulder injury to take command of the offense, accounting for 330 yards and three touchdowns in a win last week over Bay High.

For the season, Butts has thrown for 331 yards and leads the Tiger Sharks with 226 rushing yards.

“In the passing game, we have made some positive steps,” Palmer said. “We were a little more consistent offensively against Bay. Given that Josh was coming back from surgery, we knew he was a good athlete and it was just a matter of him getting some confidence.

“He should be over that at this point.”

After taking Monday and Tuesday off this week due to the storm, Palmer said the team will be back on schedule the rest of the way heading into next week and the start of a three-game home stand.

The focus, Palmer said, will be on improving each day and gaining some offensive consistency, including eliminating the mistakes that undercut offensive effort in the first three games.

“There are areas we need to work on, consistency in the running game, sustaining blocks, eliminating penalties and being better at protecting the ball,” Palmer said. “We are 3-0 and obviously think we can get better.

“We really need to work hard on fundamentals in the next week and work to alleviate the mistakes.”

After hosting Rutherford next Friday, Port St. Joe hosts Autauga Academy out of Prattsville, AL and Walton High School for Homecoming.