SARASOTA -- After spotting host Sarasota Riverview an early 13-0 lead, the Palmetto Tigers decided to turn on the defense.
The offense also kicked into gear.
Consequently, Palmetto peeled off 34 consecutive points before holding on for a 34-26 victory in Friday's Kickoff Classic for both football programs.
"We came out in the second half and saw they really hadn't done too much to change what they were doing," Palmetto head coach Dave Marino said. "So we had a plan to take advantage of some of the things they were doing."
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Grant O'Shea began the scoring for the Rams with a 55-yard punt return in the first quarter, before running back Karan Higdon pounded an 8-yard touchdown run up the middle to arm Riverview with a 13-0 lead with 8:17 remaining in the first half.
However, Palmetto utilized a late seven-play, 57-yard drive, capped with quarterback Jack Allison's touchdown pass to wide receiver Dearius Washington.
That late score came with 1:48 remaining in the second quarter, and it provided a jolt for a Tigers team that had a slow start in all departments.
Allison also experienced a slow start. His timing was just a bit off in the first two quarters until his touchdown toss to Washington.
"He is the most mentally tough kid I have ever coached," Marino said of Allison, who started 3-for-11 with an interception before the first score.
"Nothing gets him down. So when he makes a mistake, we correct and we move forward. And he does a great job of rallying from his mistakes. He has short-term memory. I love it. He's everything you want in a quarterback in terms of his poise and his composure and confidence. And he doesn't get rattled."
Palmetto then turned it on for the second half with a punishing defense and a steady offense.
Marino pointed to players such as Devon Barnes, David Belvin and Brian Bembry as keying the adjustments that the coaching staff made at the break.
"Our front three, they caused ... offensive line some trouble and we're excited about them, and the anchor they provide for us," Marino said.
In addition to the momentum-turning touchdown connection from Allison to Washington, Palmetto's junior quarterback also found Simon Williams for a 15-yard score over the middle to knot the game at 13.
Then the ensuing kickoff was mishandled, allowing Palmetto to set up with short yardage off the turnover.
Allison delivered a 36-yard touchdown pass to Quincy Washington, before capping his day with a fourth touchdown pass -- his second to Dearius Washington -- with 9:21 remaining in the game.
Quincy Washington put the Tigers ahead with what appeared to be an insurmountable 34-13 lead with 4:40 left after covering 82 yards on two straight carries.
The highlight was his 75-yard gallop past several would-be tacklers.
But Riverview bounced back to deliver a few late scores, before Palmetto recovered an onside kick and ran off the remaining seconds to seal the victory.
The Tigers open the 2014 regular season at Venice next Friday.