Marino-led Pal­metto is peak­ing at the right time

The Bradenton Herald - - Sports - BY MON­ROE ROARK Her­ald cor­re­spon­dent

The Pal­metto High foot­ball team walked onto the home field of un­de­feated Pinel­las Park on Fri­day night and didn’t flinch.

The seventh-seeded Tigers jumped to a big early lead and kept their foot on the gas, cruis­ing to a 38-21 win over the No. 2 Pa­tri­ots in a Class 7A-Re­gion 3 quar­ter­fi­nal.

It’s the se­cond con­sec­u­tive sea­son Pal­metto trav­eled to Pinel­las County and beat the Pa­tri­ots in the first round of the play­offs.

Pal­metto (8-3) will con­tinue its play­off run next week with a trip to sixth-seeded Val­rico Bloom­ing­dale, a 45-8 win­ner over Fort My­ers Riverdale.

Cor­rian Brown’s 9-yard touch­down run mid­way through the fourth quar­ter made the score 38-7 against a Pinel­las Park team that av­er­aged 47 points a game dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son.

The Pa­tri­ots picked up two touch­downs in the fi­nal 2:09 with the help of a 63-yard kick­off re­turn and a Pal­metto fum­ble.

“It was all about the de­fense,” Pal­metto head coach Dave Marino said. “Hats off the them. That’s a hell of an of­fense we faced tonight. We missed a cou­ple of of­fen­sive op­por­tu­ni­ties but we got it done.”

Johnny Jones scored the first touch­down on a short run, and quar­ter­back An­thony Marino threw a pair of scor­ing passes, an 85-yard bomb to LaJohn­tay Wester and a 22-yard strike to Ed­drayian But­ler.

Marino also scored on a quar­ter­back sneak, and Rafael Gon-

za­lez added a 21-yard field goal.

”We’re peak­ing at the right time and we’re bat­tle-tested,” Dave Marino said. “We aren’t un­de­feated but those losses were close games and we learned from them and got bet­ter.

“Our kids have a lot of con­fi­dence and they’re work­ing hard ev­ery day to get bet­ter. We’re still a work in progress. I’m ex­cited to see how we con­tinue to progress over th­ese next few weeks.”

An­thony Marino

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