NORTH PORT — The Gulf Coast Sharks used a ball-control offense to control the tempo and pulled away from North Port for a 26-14 victory in a Class 7A-District 12 matchup Friday night.
The Sharks scored twice in the fourth quarter after the Bobcats pulled within two points to spoil North Port’s senior night. The Bobcats got a touchdown when Zach Kelly picked up a blocked field goal at the 3 yard line after the Sharks left the field thinking the ball was dead. The PAT made it 16-14 with 4:35 to go in the third quarter. But the Sharks responded with a 13 play 80 yard drive that ended with a 29 yard field goal by Jackson Beebe with 11:14 to play that increased the lead to 19-14.
Gulf Coast got the ball near midfield after an interception and drove for the clinching score, a 1-yard plunge by Jovain Cameron with 4:34 remaining.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Sharks took the lead when a bad snap sailed over Bobcat quarterback Kevin Riley’s head and was recovered in the end zone by Denzel Carter. Gulf Coast then recovered an onside kick and got a 30-yard TD run from Cal Jarbo for the Sharks second TD in less than a minute. Beebe kicked a 26 yard field goal to make it 16-0, but the Bobcats came back with a 6-yard run by Jeffrey Terry with 1:22 to go in the half to make it 16-7 at halftime.
Key plays: After Beebe missed a field goal attempt early in the second quarter, the Bobcats got the ball on their own 20. On the first play, the snap went over Riley’s head giving the Sharks the lead.
Just before the half, Riley combined with a wide open Javon Solomon for a 52 yard gain that took the ball to the 6 yard line, setting up Terry’s touchdown.
The Bobcats got a break in the third quarter after moving into position for a John-Victor Oliveira field goal from 36 yards out. The Sharks blocked the kick and the ball rolled dead inside the 5 yard line. Gulf Coast players left the field, but Kelly ran down and picked up the ball and carried it into the end zone to close the gap to 16-14.
Key stats: Terry led North Port with 28 yards on 8 carries. The Bobcats found a passing game as Riley completed 7 of 16 passes for 176 yards with two interceptions.
What it means: The Bobcats fall to 1-7 overall and 0-2 in district play. North Port has a week off before Riverdale.
What they said: “Our kids played hard and we put ourselves in a position to be in the game,” North Post coach Brian halter said. “We made some mistakes that were unforced and we’ve just got to clean that up. If you want to win football games, you can’t hurt yourself. We’ve got a bye week next week so we’ve got to get healthy and get back in it.”