Prep football | Riverview running game beats Palmetto 13-3

jdill@bradenton.comAugust 24, 2013 

PALMETTO -- Dave Marino summed up what he needs his Palmetto Tigers to work on following Friday's Kickoff Classic in one word: everything.

The fourth-year Palmetto head coach has elevated the Tigers into a perennial playoff program that reached a state semifinal in 2011.

However, this year's Tigers didn't look anywhere near that part in a 13-3 loss to visiting Sarasota Riverview in the preseason clash for teams before next week's regular season opener.

"Our defense isn't good enough to get off the field," Marino said. "Our offense isn't good enough to execute. Right now, we've got a lot of work to do. ... We've got a lot of guys living in the past. The future's coming. All right, we're stepping up to the big time with a big-time schedule, and these

guys have to get it in their heads and in their hearts that they want it."

Palmetto's defense was gouged for 252 rushing yards by Riverview's tandem attack, running back Karan Higdon and quarterback Richie James.

Higdon toted the rock 37 times for 180 yards, while James contributed 72 yards on the ground and two scores.

His second touchdown, a 33-yard run down the left sideline, came on a 4th and 1 early in the fourth quarter.

"It looks like the same thing from the sidelines," said Riverview head coach Todd Johnson of his team's successful running attack Friday. "But there's subtle differences blocking scheme-wise, where it's tough from a defensive coaching standpoint. It can be tricky to see and hard, if we're able to block and get the assignments done."

The Rams accomplished that Friday, while Palmetto struggled to stop the attack.

The Tigers also had trouble on offense.

Palmetto didn't gain a first down until the second half and only marched into Rams territory twice.

"We got beat in the trenches," Marino said. "Our offensive line's been a question mark, and we haven't answered those questions."

Adding to the offensive woes were two turnovers in the first half that included a fumble on a kick return following James' 5-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.

It was part of a sloppy first half by both teams as a total of five turnovers in the first two periods limited scoring opportunities on both ends.

"We put the ball on the ground too many times," Marino said.

Marino said the performance, which yielded 99 yards of total offense, was one of the worst in his tenure as Palmetto head coach, and neither Jack Allison or Chris Tuten did enough to earn the starting quarterback job.

"I didn't see either one of them step up and say, 'It's my job,'" Marino said.

Palmetto hosts area power Venice, who knocked off Southeast 42-7 on Friday, in its regular-season opener.

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