The defense did its job. The offense is a work in progress.
That’s the view of Palmetto head coach Dave Marino, whose team dismantled Sarasota, 25-7, in a Class 7A-District 11 game on a humid Friday night at Ihrig Field.
“We’ve got to do a better job offensively, and that starts with me,” said Marino, who doubles as offensive coordinator. “It’s my fault, but … we’ll get better.
“When the defense gives the offense the ball inside the 30 three times and we don’t come away with a touchdown, we’ll correct it.”
Palmetto created a couple of early turnovers, but they only led to field goals, including an interception of a Bryan Gagg pass by Sidney Douglas on the first play from scrimmage. Four plays later, Alfredo Manriquez converted a 33-yard field goal as the Tigers went up 3-0 with 9:21 left in the first quarter. After a poor Sailor punt, Manriquez converted another kick. This one, from 50 yards out, capped a 35-yard drive and gave Palmetto a 6-0 lead with 6:35 left in the first.
Manriquez then missed a 37-yard field goal attempt, setting up Gagg’s 51-yard scoring pass to Trayvon Hall. Austin Weigman’s kick gave Sarasota a 7-6 lead with 11:02 remaining in the second quarter.
On the Sailors’ next possession, Gagg was stripped of the ball, and Zack Wyatt ran it back 69 yards for a Tigers score. The ensuing kick was missed as Palmetto took a 12-7 lead with 3:24 remaining in the half.
Palmetto scored again with the clock running down. Jason Spicer hit Aldemola Adedea for a 3-yard score. The kick was blocked, giving Palmetto an 18-7 halftime lead.
Palmetto capped the scoring on a 31-yard interception return by Andrew Duncan. The kick was good for a 25-7 lead with 8:52 left in the fourth quarter.
“The kids are great,” Marino said. “They’re young kids. They do what you tell them to do. They delivered. They stepped up big tonight, when they had to, in that key drive (before halftime).
“As coaches we have got to do a better job and create more opportunities for them, and prepare them to execute those opportunities when called upon. That’s on us.”
Both teams are 3-1. Marino said the Tigers will work hard on offense next week in practice in preparation for playing Bayshore next Friday.
The defense may get less attention in practice.
“We’re returning seven starters from last year’s defense in addition to five defensive players who played substantial minutes as backups,” Marino said. “We have depth, and a couple of our younger kids coming up from the JV team have progressed and improved, so we’re going to let them all play. They have earned the right to play.”
Who: Palmetto at Bayshore
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Balvanz Stadium, Bradenton