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Palmetto uses the ground game, timely defense in win over Southeast

The Tigers relied more on their ground game than usual in a Tuesday night win over the Seminoles
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PALMETTO, FLORIDA- Playing on a Tuesday night and turning around to line it up on a Friday night can be an arduous task.

The Palmetto Tigers had lost its previous two games and set its sights on ending the short skid at home against the Southeast Seminoles. Southeast was coming off its first win of the season, beating Parrish Community.

Turnovers became the difference and Tigers’ cornerback Colton Davis had a couple of them, picking off two passes and helping lift Palmetto to a 40-3 victory over Southeast at Harllee Stadium. Palmetto evened its record to 3-3 and Southeast fell to 1-5.

“That’s the reason we were 2-3 coming into this game instead of 5-0. We have the potential. You see shades of brilliance or shades of what we can do,” Palmetto head coach Dave Marino said. “It’s just a matter of us getting better and cutting out the little things that are killing us.”

A promising first couple of touches by Palmetto running back Kyrie Marshall turned into the first turnover of the night, with Southeast (1-5) recovering. The Seminoles couldn’t turn it into points, but the Tigers would notch the game’s first score

Late in the opening quarter, the Tigers (3-3) punched in the first score, a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Zander Smith (8-of-10, 117 yards). Just before the end of the first quarter, Marshall redeemed himself and scored on a 47-yard run to put Palmetto up 14-0.

Zander Smith finished with 117 yards on 8-of-10 passing. 

Zander Smith finished with 117 yards on 8-of-10 passing. 

Southeast couldn’t muster much hitting runs up the middle, but found success through the passing game with quarterback Noah Obaseki. The junior had over 120 yards passing in the first half, with the offense getting into the redzone multiple times.

“Our defense, that was the encouraging thing,” Marino said. “Offensively we were struggling earlier in the year. They picked us up, they shut the door. But week after week, they started to wear down. The kids have come together.”

The Seminoles could only come up with three points in two redzone trips, resulting in Southeast trailing 21-3 at intermission. The last score before half would come on a 10-yard Marshall run.

What ultimately proved to be the separation of the teams was in the beginning of the third quarter when Palmetto would get a safety of Obaseki. Wouldn’t be all too long later until Smith scored his second touchdown of the night on a 7-yard scamper road put the Tigers up 30-3.

A 39-yard Brandon Gonzales field goal making it 33-3 would start the route from there. An interception return for a touchdown by defensive back Nate Dawes put the running clock into effect in the second half.

Palmetto cornerback Colton Davis notched two interceptions earlier in the game and linebacker Dastan Chikataev had two sacks for the Tigers. Marshall finished with 100 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns.

“We’re getting into more heavy personnel,” Marino said about the changes on offense. “We were putting a lot of pressure on our quarterback and receivers.”

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at and follow him on Twitter @Andy_Villamarzo.