Count Jarkeice Davis among those not intimidated by Holmes County’s state ranking.
The sophomore Davis rumbled for 285 yards and three touchdowns, and Port St. Joe manhandled the previously unbeaten Blue Devils’ high-powered offense for the bulk of a 28-20 victory over Holmes County at Shark Field on Friday night
PSJ evened its record at 2-2 with the non-district victory. Holmes County, the state’s third-ranked team in Class 1A, suffered its first defeat in five games.
“We had people in our hometown doubting us,” Davis said. “We wanted to prove them wrong,”
The game proved to be more lopsided than the score would indicate. PSJ’s defensive line seemingly pitched a tent in the Blue Devils’ backfield, and Holmes County couldn’t run or throw the ball with any success consistently.
Davis’ two touchdowns in the first half spotted the Tiger Sharks a 14-0 lead. He overpowered one would-be tackler before racing 49 yards for a touchdown just over 3 minutes into the game for a 7-0 lead. He later added a bullish 12-yard romp for another score and a 14-0 lead 2 minutes into the second quarter.
The Tiger Sharks extended their lead to 21-0 when freshman quarterback Troy Williams fired a perfectly placed throw to receiver Rammelo Zaccarro for a 15-yard touchdown.
PSJ outgained Holmes County 236-62 in the first half. Davis carried the ball 12 times for 154 yards, and Dusty Richter added four rushes for 64 yards.
Conversely, Holmes County punted on five of six possessions in the first half, and the other drive resulted in an interception.
“We came out, and it was all about playing together,” Richter said. “Coaches tell us that practice during the week is like work, and Friday is pay day. Today we got paid.”
Davis and Richter stressed the importance of camaraderie on the Tiger Shark football team, and they have drawn strength from each other in recent weeks. Davis’ uncle died two days ago. Richter’s uncle committed suicide weeks ago, Richter said.
“We put Christ first and pray every day,” Davis said. “We go hard every day in practice. It paid off.”
The Blue Devils found some traction offensively in the second half, but the Tiger Sharks’ 28-point lead was too much to overcome.
HolmesCountygot on the scoreboard in the middle of the third quarter with Kodi Russ’ 1-yard touchdown run. That capped a seven-play, 63-yard drive, by far the Blue Devils’ most successful possession of the evening to that point.
HolmesCountyclosed within 28-14 with Jacky Miles’ 1-yard touchdown run with 10½ minutes left in the contest. Russ added a two-point conversion.
A fumble by the Tiger Sharks set up Holmes County’s third touchdown, a 1-yard scramble by Ty Russ that trimmed his team’s deficit to 28-20 with 3 minutes remaining. Russ missed the extra point, however, and PSJ recovered the ensuing onside kick and drained the clock.
HolmesCounty got the ball back at its own 27 after a Davis’ fumble with 48 seconds left in the game. The Blue Devils advanced the ball to the PSJ 42 before Miles was sacked as time expired. That was the fifth sack of the night for the PSJ defense.
Miles came into the game the area’s leading passer, but he was held to 3-for-7 passing for 13 yards and an interception. Similarly, Kodi Russ entered as the area’s top rusher, but he was largely corralled and finished with 110 yards on 20 rushes. Ty Russ completed all six pass attempts for 74 yards in the second half.
Holmes County 0 0 6 14 — 20
Port St. Joe 7 14 7 0 — 28
PSJ: Davis 49 run (Hites kick)
PSJ: Davis 12 run (Hites kick)
PSJ: Zaccarro 15 pass from Williams (Hites kick)
PSJ: Davis 81 run (Hites kick)
HC: K. Russ 1 run (kick failed)
HC: Miles 1 run (K. Russ run)
HC: T. Russ 1 run (kick failed)
RUSHING — Holmes County: K. Russ 20-110, Miles 9-33, T. Russ 12-32. Port St. Joe: Davis 24-285, Richter 6-64, Williams 4-6, Zaccarro 3-4, Lee 1-(minus-3), Team 1-(minus-1).
PASSING — Holmes County: Miles 3-7-1 13, K. Russ 1-1-0 16, T. Russ 6-6-0 74. Port St. Joe: Williams 1-2-1 15.
RECEIVING — Holmes County: K. Russ 3-25, F. Russ 2-22, Janas 1-18, Miles 2-16, Wilson 1-12. Port St. Joe: Zaccarro 1-15.