Understanding last Friday’s Kickoff Classic in Franklin County is as simple as considering one statistic.
Over the first 14 minutes of the game Wewahitchka ran just three offensive plays, the host Seahawks 20.
The score was 21-0 Gators.
Wewahitchka opened the 2013 campaign with what amounted to a glorified scrimmage as the Gators ran over Franklin County 54-0.
“I expected it to be a lot closer than it was,” said Wewahitchka coach Dennis Kizziah. “But we’ll take it and we came out of it healthy and we everybody got to play, we got everybody on film, and that is a positive.
“Franklin County is rebuilding everything, new coach, new system and a lot of new players.”
The Gators sprinted to the lead behind junior quarterback Rashard Ranie.
Ranie had three carries in the opening quarter and converted them into touchdown runs of 80, 76 and 86 yards.
“What is that, about an 80-yard per carry average?” Kizziah said with a chuckle. “That would be pretty good to maintain this season, but I really don’t think it will.
“We had to dial it back pretty quickly. We did not run up the score on them. We played our junior varsity and reserves from the second quarter on.”
The big plays weren’t entirely Ranie’s.
Javar Hill, the tight end turned fullback, had 30 yards in just three carries and backup quarterback Hunter Hysmith dashed 50 yards for a score. Brett Satterfield had a 59-yard touchdown run.
Ranie also hit all three of his passes.
Even as the Gators tried to run out the clock on the game’s final play they couldn’t help but score as Kaleb Shiver scampered 50 yards for a touchdown.
“We played hard,” Kizziah said. “We had a lot of mistakes like lining up in the wrong spot or shooting through the wrong gap on defense, but those are fixable
“I also learned we get after it pretty good on defense. We swarmed to the ball pretty good all night.”
The Gators quickly dialed it back against Franklin County, but they will dial it up this week as the Classic is rendered to the rear view mirror at Port St. Joe comes calling at 8 p.m. ET Friday night at Gator Field.
“That’s over with,” Kizziah said of the Kickoff Classic. “It was a good scrimmage for us and we got to go after another team.
“They don’t need any motivation for Port St. Joe, or at least I hope we don’t.”
The county rivals again begin the regular season on opposite sidelines, a familiarity that resonates through the rivalry.
“We play each other every spring and we play each other enough that we know each other pretty well,” Kizziah said. “It comes down to who will make the fewest mistakes and which team makes the plays, like it always does.
“We have a little bit of size, they have a little bit of speed. If we can neutralize their speed, that is key. I think it will be a whale of a ballgame.”