PORT CHARLOTTE — There will be little or no margin for error for the Port Charlotte football team now.
After three non-district games in which the Pirates played uneven at times but came away with victories, they were given a jolt in the District 6A-12 opener against Palmetto.
Xavier Williams threw for two touchdowns and the Palmetto defense completely shut down the Pirates, 47-7, in a battle of unbeatens at the Pirate Cove.
The heavyweight battle everyone expected never happened as Palmetto raced to a 27-0 halftime lead with the help of Williams’ arm, the legs of Sagel Hickson, and the foot of Rafael Gonzalez, who kicked two long field goals in the first half.
The Pirates got on the board in the third quarter and after a successful onside kick got inside the red zone with a chance to make things interesting before another of Port Charlotte’s four turnovers buried them.
Hickson scored, along with Robert Gavin and Taivon Saunders to force a running clock in the closing minute.
Despite the rout, Palmetto coach Dave Marino wasn’t happy, as the district is the equal of the “Pool of Death” in World Cup soccer. There will be a team or two that will be very disappointed come the end of October.
KEY PLAYS: Four Port Charlotte turnovers resulted in 21 points for the Tigers. That’s always big. Particularly the one in the third quarter by Rogers with Port Charlotte having a chance to cut the lead to 27-14. That led to a score and the Pirates never recovered.
WHAT THE OUTCOME MEANS: Port Charlotte is really going to have to do some soul searching and hopes it can run the district table. Good luck with Charlotte and Braden River still on the schedule. The last thing they want is to have to rely on a crazy point system to get past the first weekend of November.
Palmetto won a huge game on the road. And they haven’t even scratched the surface of what they can do according to head coach Dave Marino.
KEY STATS: Xavier Williams threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns, while Hickson rushed for 120 yards. Robert Gavin scored twice for Palmetto.
Logan Rogers led Port Charlotte with 145 passing and 75 yards rushing.
QUOTES: “We were outcoached,” Port Charlotte coach Jordan Ingman.
“We are self-inflicting these adversities and we have to get better. We won’t be champions if we keep playing like this,” Palmetto coach Dave Marino.