Port St. Joe opened the regular season last Friday with a convincing win over county rival Wewahitchka at Shark Stadium.
Port St. Joe smothered the Gator offense and used big plays to build an early and insurmountable lead to forge a 35-0 victory over an opponent that never matched its intensity.
Jasmin Thomas carried four times for a game-high 92 yards and two touchdowns to lead a Port St. Joe ground attack that featured eight different ball carriers amassing 247 yards.
Toss in a 43-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Butts (45 rushing yards) to wingback Russell Russ (59 yards rushing) and Port St. Joe finished with 278 total yards in a game that went to a running clock with more than eight minutes remaining in the third quarter.
“Off the cuff, our defense played well and that is what we want to build our football program around, guys running to the football,” said Port St. Joe coach Greg Jordan. “We still have some things to work out.
“We are building depth offensively and sometimes that doesn’t always look that pretty. We are pleased and hopefully we came out without any injuries and we will be ready for a tough game next week (at Marianna).”
On the other side of the ball, the Gators simply could not get going, with just one first down in the opening half and 81 total offensive yards for the game.
At halftime, which arrived with Port St. Joe up 28-0, the Tiger Sharks enjoyed a 239-26 advantage in total yards.
“We’ve got some gut problems,” said Wewahitchka coach Bobby Johns. “We have some problems execution-wise, but those you can fix.
“We played, but not with the intensity we have to have to beat a team like that.”
Port St. Joe took the opening kickoff and needed just six plays and three minutes to cover 63 yards for the score, Butts’ 40-yard keeper the big play to set up a dive from the 2 by Bubba Ash.
Joel Bogaert, who also mans the drums with the band at halftime, kicked the extra point.
After holding the Gators to three-and-out, the Tiger Sharks benefited from a 22-yard punt that put them at the Wewahitchka 48.
Thomas transformed a belly trap into a scoring dash up the middle of the field and
Bogaert made it 14-0.
Wewahitchka could not advance beyond its 38 on the ensuing drive despite its only first down of the half, Port St. Joe taking over after a punt at its 45.
Seven plays later, Kelvin Griffin managed to get outside the defense on a sweep right, received a seal block on the edge and cruised 21 yards down the sideline to make it 21-0 after Bogaert’s extra point.
The teams exchanged punts over the next three series, the final punt returned 61 yards for a touchdown by Russ only to have the play called back on a blindside block.
Two plays later, from the Gator 43, Russ wiped away the penalty on the scoring pass play from Butts, taking a short hook pass at the 35 and dashing across and around the defense for the touchdown.
Bogaert made it 28-0.
After holding the Gators to three-and-out on the first series of the second half, Port St. Joe triggered the running clock when Thomas turned another run up the middle, this one starting at the Wewahitchka 21, into a touchdown.
Bogaert made it 35-0.
Wewahitchka is on the road again this week, traveling to Lighthouse Christian.