Five years after Port St. Joe last visited Franklin County, the Tiger Sharks picked up where they left off, handing the Seahawks a 42-6 drubbing Friday night.
It wasn’t without a fight, and up until a half-minute left in the first half, it looked like it might go down to the wire.
The first quarter had been scoreless, with sophomore quarterbacks Dakota Quinn and Colin Amison sharing snaps for the Tiger Sharks, and junior quarterback Lamarius Martin, Amison’s teammate last year, directing the Seahawk offense.
The Seahawk defensive pressure sacked Amison twice in the first quarter, stymying the Tiger Sharks attempts to enter the red zone. With 9:46 left in the half, Martin scrambled out of the pocket and ran 84 yards for the opening score.
The Tiger Sharks came back four minutes later, with an -eight-play, 42-yard drive that ended when senior running back Bubba Ash punched it in from the 6 yard line. Port St. Joe feigned a try at kicking the extra point, as holder senior Kelvin Griffin ran it in for two, and held an 8-6 lead.
But then with less than a minute left before halftime, Port St Joe scored twice to head into the locker room with a 21-6 margin.
Griffin ran it in from the 2, with 21 seconds left, and then on the ensuing kickoff, Martin had the ball jarred loose at midfield, Port St. Joe recovered, and a subsequent 7-yard pass pass from Amison to Griffin, and a successful extra point by senior Christian Logan, had exploded the game in Port St. Joe’s favor.
“We made some breaks and got a turnover here and there,” said Port St. Joe coach Greg Jordan. “We spit and sputtered too. It wasn’t a clean game.
“With got 10 new starters on offense and we got a lot of growing pains we’re going through and you see it,” he said. “We spit and sputtered and then we’ll do ok and then we’ll spit and sputter.
“Overall we were pleased with the effort tonight,” Jordan said. “As long as the kids play hard we can fix the mistakes.”
The score remained unchanged for the entire third quarter, until with about six minutes left in the game, senior Demarion Gray sprinted 48 yards for the score, making it 28-6.
A fumble by Seahawk junior wide receiver Eden Brathwaite, scooped up by Tiger Shark sophomore tight end Arden Wiser ghth grade quarterback Jordan Pride led to a Tiger Shark score a half-minute later, and then another Seahawk fumble, with three minutes left in the game, set up a 2-yard touchdown run by sophomore Aiden Gainer, for the sixth and final touchdown for Port St. Joe.
Amison finished 7 for 9 from the air, with one TD pass, and Quinn 2 for 3 for 10 yards, and six carries for 32 yards. Gray and Griffin each carried the ball nine times, for 76 and 63 yards respectively, and each caught two passes. Ash carried the ball five times for 31 yards and caught two passes. Senior running back Daveion Welch ran the ball twice for 20 yards.
Overall the Tiger Sharks gained 333 yards, 283 of them on the ground. Gainer led the team with 10 tackles, followed by Ash with seven and Gray with five.
For the Seahawks, Martin completed 4 of 9 passes for 61 yards, and one interception. He also was the team's leading rusher, with 12 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Larry Winchester caught four passes for 62 yards, and carried the ball nine times for 31 yards. Junior linebacker Charlee Winchester led the team with seven tackles, followed by Brathwaite's five.
Port St. Joe travels west to play South Walton Friday.
“We hope the injury bug doesn’t bite us,” said Jordan. “Because we’re thin in a lot of places, like most 1A schools are.”