Port St. Joe found success in the air last Friday to complement a steady running game, as the Tiger Sharks downed Franklin County 56-14.
Holding a 14-7 lead after the first quarter, freshman quarterback Troy Williams threw two scoring strikes to junior running back Natron Lee, a 25-yarder and a 60-yarder, in the space of five minutes in the second quarter to break the game open.
In between the two aerial scores, Williams rushed for a touchdown, running it in from the 1 with four minutes left in the second quarter. In all, Williams connected on six of eight for 157 yards,
“We threw the ball a little bit better tonight and the deal there is if we‘re able to throw the ball a little bit , that will help us down the stretch and open up the running game,” said Port St. Joe coach Chuck Gannon, whose team went to 3-2 on the year and 1-1 in the District 2-1A.
The Tiger Shark running game didn’t need much opening up against the Seahawks, as sophomore running back Jarkeice Davis posted two early rushing touchdowns of 11 and 4 yards, to give Port St. Joe a 14-0 lead, with three minutes left in the first quarter.
Just before the half, Davis ran in from 27 yards out for his third touchdown and a 42-14 Tiger Shark halftime lead.
Davis carried the ball 12 times for 139 yards, and helped the cause on defense with his fourth and final touchdown early in the third quarter, when he scooped up a Seahawk fumble from his linebacker position and ran it in 26 yards for a 49-14 lead.
The eighth and final Port St. Joe touchdown came with 10 minutes left in the game, when senior Corey North ran the ball 45 yards up the middle.
Junior kicker Justin Hites connected on seven-of-eight extra points, with one blocked.
Franklin County looked to make a game of it in the early stages, as junior Dwayne Griggs had a 10-yard touchdown run with 25 seconds left in the first quarter. Griggs, who is a cousin to Davis, with both sporting No.1 on their jerseys, brought the Seahawks within six points 20-14 with an 80-yard touchdown tear midway through the second quarter.
“We gave the Griggs kid too much space,” said Gannon. “He’s a good runner and we just gave him too much space, but he made some good moves also.”
Griggs was saddled with an ankle injury for several minutes late in the game, evidence of what was a tough physical performance all night by Port. St. Joe.
“We’re getting better at it,” said Gannon. “We got to get stronger in the weight room and we have to play St. Joe football from the past, and that was coming in and sticking you for four quarters. And that’s what we did and that’s what we’ve been stressing all year.”