PALMETTO -- Bigger games await the Palmetto Tigers.
That isn’t news to Dave Marino, now in his second year as the team’s head coach. He referred to an impending three-game stretch as Murderers’ Row on Friday night at Harllee Stadium.
That being said, Marino couldn’t be happier with how his kids have handled their season up to now.
The Tigers scored another lopsided win Friday, routing Bayshore 42-7 in a Class 5A-District 10 game. The Tigers are 6-0 and 2-0 in the district, and head into next week’s bye riding a 10-game regular-season winning streak.
Marino knows the Tigers could be better. But he also knows they’ve put themselves in the best possible position in anticipation of the next month, which includes key district games with Southeast and Wauchula Hardee sandwiched around an Oct. 28 date with Manatee.
“We’re focused,” Marino said. “The teams we’ve beat are good programs, but it is what it is. What we’re facing, and what we’re about to face, is a challenge. And our kids know that, and we’re going to use this as an opportunity to get better.”
Bayshore (2-4, 0-2) ruined the Tigers’ bid for three straight shutouts early in the second half, when a 10-yard run by Calvin Williams trimmed Palmetto’s lead to 14-7.
The game didn’t stay close for long, however. Cory Crawford took the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown, and, after Bayshore fumbled its kickoff return, the Tigers stretched the lead to 28-7 when Crawford and quarterback Trent Miller hooked up for a 26-yard pass-and-catch less than six minutes before half.
Crawford finished with 106 receiving yards while Miller, who also found Shaq Harris for a second-quarter score, completed 10 of 12 passes for 189 yards.
That was enough to get by a Bayshore team playing without starting quarterback Josh Maugherman (hip pointer) and others, according to coach Jean P. Gordon.
“Not making excuses, but we have a lot of players down right now. I would have liked to face them with our full team,” he said. “Palmetto has a great football team. ... They’ve got the skill guys, they’ve got the linemen, they’ve got the quarterback -- they’ve got the whole package.”
Williams ran for a game-high 83 yards for Bayshore, which heads to Braden River next week for a non-district game.
“We had a few discipline deals,” Gordon said. “You’ve got to take care of that, too.”
Palmetto is off next week, a calm before the storm before a crucial run beginning when Hardee visits on Oct. 21.
“We’ve got to get ready. Murderers’ Row is coming up,” Marino said. “We know it, and we circled it on our schedule. Hardee, Manatee and Southeast -- it doesn’t any tougher than that.
“We happy with 6-0, but we really haven’t accomplished as to what our goals are this year, which is to be district champs and move on in the playoffs.”