The Palmetto Tigers finally opened up their first game since the heartbreaking defeat to the eventual state champions the Miami Central Rockets. It was almost a packed house with a capacity of only 1,000 people. It still felt like a normal Friday night at Palmetto High as the Tigers were facing off against the Port Charlotte Pirates who faced Palmetto twice last year and lost both times. Palmetto is without Head Coach Dave Marino after being suspended 8 games due to a recruitment scandal along with several other coaches in Manatee county. Assistan Head Coach Matt Braselton stepped up and filled in for Friday night’s game.
It was a slow first quarter as Palmetto opened up the season driving down the field with a new look offense. Senior Josh Siplin is this year’s starting Quarterback for the Tigers along with returning starters, Runningback Sagel Hickson and Wide Receiver Zorian Geathers, who are both seniors. The Tigers failed to score a touchdown as they attempted a 30 yard field goal to open up the scoring 3-o. The Tigers defense is now up as they got a quick 3 and out which led to a Port Charlotte punt. The following drive, the Tigers once again drove down the field with Sagel Hickson carrying the rock. On a 3rd and long, Josh Siplin threw a screen pass to Running Back Sagel Hickson and Hickson takes it to the house for a 10-0 lead. Port Charlotte eventually got on the board towards the end of the first with Logan Rogers scoring a touchdown to make it 10-7 Tigers.
In the 2nd quarter, Palmetto gave up on the pass game and fed Sagel Hickson, Sagel rushed for over 1,000 yards last season averaging 6 yards per carry. Neither team could score this quarter as both offenses ran the rock and chewed the clock. At halftime, it was still 10-7 Tigers.
During halftime, Coach Braselton made adjustments on both sides of the ball. Blitzing more on defense and continuing to run the ball.
At the start of the 3rd quarter, Runningback and Safety Jacquez Hughes ran a kick back all the way for a touchdown to make the score 16-7 Palmetto as the point after attempt was missed. Port Charlotte couldn’t do anything else on offense as Palmetto’s defense stepped up huge with University of Buffalo commit Floyd Dozier plugging up the middle with his huge frame. Josh Siplin played smart throwing and running the ball not forcing any turnovers and playing smart football. Sagel Hickson and Jacquez Hughes both ran the ball and ran the ball effectively.
In the 4th quarter, the game started to get out of hand as Junior safety Chance Zipperer scored a pick 6 making the game 43-7 and then getting another interception after. As the clock ticked down to zero, the game was over. Palmetto goes on to be 1-0 as Port Charlotte moves to 2-1. First win of the season for Interim Head Coach Matt Braselton. Sagel Hickson ended up with 17 carries for 106 yards averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
Palmetto will be at home again facing off against 0-2 Largo High School. The Tigers are favored heavily in this game as to hopefully move to 2-0 on the season.