PALMETTO -- The Palmetto Tigers have shrugged off a frustrating start and stand poised to make a playoff run.
Quincy Washington rushed for nearly 200 yards, and Jack Allison fired four touchdown passes Friday night as the Tigers rolled over Class 7A-District 10 foe Lakewood Ranch 31-7 at Harllee Stadium.
Palmetto improved to 2-4, 2-0 in the district. It stands tied with undefeated Braden River atop the district standings. A victory next week over Sarasota would clinch a playoff berth for the Tigers and likely set up a winner-take-all matchup with the Pirates on Oct. 31 in Braden River.
It's a far cry from a Palmetto squad that dropped its first three games of the season by a total of six points.
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If you factor in last year's loss in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs, Palmetto lost four straight games by seven points. The Tigers fell 13-12 at Tarpon Springs East Lake last November,
"That's the reason why we played the tough schedule," Palmetto head coach Dave Marino said after Friday's victory. "You look at our first three games, and the opponents only had one loss. They got us prepared for our district games."
Palmetto lost to Venice, St. Petersburg Lakewood, Clearwater Countryside and Manatee. Those teams entered Friday with a record of 23-4.
Lakewood Ranch fell to 3-3, 1-2 in the district, and saw its chances of make the playoffs flicker.
Allison, a junior who has committed to the University of Miami, connected with Brandon Luckett for a pair of touchdowns and hit DeAnthony Warrick and Dearius
Washington for two more scores. He threw for 225 yards.
Quincy Washington gained 115 rushing yards in the first half as the Tigers claimed a 21-0 lead. He continued pouring it on in the second half and came up just short of 200 yards for the game.
"We had a real good game plan," Marino said. "It was a team effort. We spread the ball around and still got the ball to Quincy. Our defense played well and contained a good quarterback in Chad Rex.
"Obviously, offensively, we did everything we know we were capable of doing all year.
Dearius Washington led the defensive attack with an interception and a fumble recovery. Henry Bradley also intercepted a pass for the Tigers.
Damon Murray intercepted a pass for Lakewood Ranch.
Palmetto has established a program record last season by clinching its fourth-straight playoff apperance. The Tigers can clinch another one next week if they beat host Sarasota, which is 1-1 in the district after beating North Port on Friday.
Lakewood Ranch plays a non-district game against Riverview next week.