Prep football | Big plays give Palmetto district win over Bayshore

Big plays, long bench give Palmetto easy win in district opener

jdill@bradenton.comOctober 6, 2012 

MANATEE -- Depth is a great advantage in high school football.

Speed, skill and a distinct edge in the turnover battle don't hurt, either.

Palmetto displayed all of the above at Balvanz Stadium in Friday's Class 5A-District 10 showdown with host Bayshore.

The Tigers (6-0 overall, 2-0 district) blew the Bruins out 48-7 to prove to state voters why they are the No. 1 team in Class 5A.

It was a stark contrast to the slugfest Palmetto endured in its district opener two weeks ago against Arcadia DeSoto, mainly due to the increased chemistry between quarterback Chris Tuten and his talented array of wide receivers.

"We just tell him, 'You give us the ball and we got you,'" said senior wide receiver E.J. Burston, who finished with three receptions, all for touchdowns, for 84 yards.

Despite the lopsided result, it was Bayshore (1-5 overall, 0-2 district) that began the game sharp and efficient on offense.

The Bruins generated a long drive early in the first quarter that cut deep into Palmetto territory.

However, on third and goal from the Tigers 9,

Palmetto's Josh Layhew sacked Bayshore quarterback Wesley Jackson for an 18-yard loss.

The Bruins subsequently turned the ball over on downs.

Palmetto scored on the following play when running back Josh Hicks found a huge hole on the right side and sped his way to a 73-yard touchdown run.

Bayshore struck back with a Calvin Williams 5-yard TD run that knotted the game at 7.

Then things began getting out of reach for the Bruins, due in part to Palmetto's quick striking offense.

The Tigers scored 21 points in the final 6 minutes, 29 seconds, of the first half.

"It was three quick scores," Bayshore head coach Jean P. Gordon said. "In a matter of, I don't know what it was, in minutes ... when they get them in the open areas like that, it's tough. There's no doubt about it, it's tough. So the kids work at it, and they try hard and they get after it, but it is what it is."

It carried over into the second half, when Palmetto tallied three additional quick scores in roughly 4:30.

Another key to Palmetto's dominating victory was the Tigers' edge in the turnover battle, as Bayshore coughed it up three times on fumbles.

Palmetto turned it over twice on fumbles, but it came near the end of the game with the starters out and the game long decided.

"They don't help at all," Gordon said. "We had another drive going. Two drives going. And both times we had turnovers."

The Tigers didn't produce any gaudy offensive statistical numbers on Friday, but they didn't need to with the quick scoring that went to a variety of players.

Shaq Harris got into the act right after halftime with a 78-yard kickoff return.

"It was pretty good," Harris said. "I had to sneak one in … I (saw) it coming."

Then Burston capped his night off a slant route that went for 66-yards to paydirt.

The touchdown, his third of the game, was also his favorite.

"Because everything else we planned," Burston said. "And that one, we only ran a couple times in practice. It was a decision, it was like an option play. He didn't have to throw it to me, but he saw me coming across the middle, so he just trusted me and gave it to me. And I did the rest."

Calvin Williams finished with 111 rushing yards on 18 carries in the loss. He led Bayshore's ground attack, which gained 204 yards on 50 attempts.

In the victory, Tuten had an efficient 10-of-13 passing game for 149 yards and three touchdowns.

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