Prep football | Palmetto earns fourth straight playoff berth by rolling over Braden River

jlembo@bradenton.comNovember 2, 2013 

PALMETTO -- His players clustered around him, Dave Marino put Palmetto's latest accomplishment into the most simplest of terms.

"We're in," he told his Tigers. "I know we wanted to go in as champs, but we're in. And that's all that matters."

Marino should know. Palmetto's 45-27 win Friday over Braden River gave the Tigers the runner-up spot out of Class 7A-District 10 -- Sarasota clinched the title by beating Lakewood Ranch on Friday -- resulting in the Tigers' fourth straight playoff berth.

All have come under Marino, who took over prior to the 2010 season.

Following next week's regular-season finale at Southeast, the Tigers (5-4, 3-1) head to Tarpon Springs to face East Lake, the District 9 champion, in a Region 3 quarterfinal Nov. 15.

"We're just excited," Marino said. "If we have to win on the road, then we'll win on the road and we'll just see what happens. We're in the playoffs, and everybody's got a chance now."

After squandering a chance to clinch a title with last week's loss to the Sailors, the Tigers were

given a lift by Quincy Washington, who chewed up 142 yards of rushing on 26 carries.

With Josh Hicks sidelined after suffering a first-quarter ankle injury, Washington scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter to give Palmetto a 16-0 lead six minutes, 36 seconds before half.

He added another touchdown and ran in a two-point conversion.

But the biggest play came courtesy of the Tigers' biggest tandem, quarterback Jack Allison and receiver Jacquill Daniels.

The pair teamed for four touchdowns, though none were bigger then they connected for a 25-yard scoring strike with 2:30 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers were facing a 4th-and-11 from the 25, and the score stretched the lead to 31-14 after Braden River (4-4, 2-2) opened the second half with a drive capped by a Andre Mays' 11-yard touchdown reception.

"Our goal was to start fast and finish strong," Marino said, "and that's what we did. We came out in the second half and we didn't rest on our laurels and we knew (the Pirates) we're going to come fighting back.

"This was a playoff game, really. We knew they were going to come back with their best punch and we had to answer."

Daniels had 82 receiving yards to go with his four touchdowns, while Allison finished with 152 yards through the air.

Justin Ross had 77 receiving yards a touchdown for the Pirates and Titus Humphrey had 85 rushing yards.

Braden River ends its season next week at Arcadia DeSoto.

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