Port St. Joe found success in the air Friday night to compliment a steady running game, as they downed Franklin County 56-14.
Holding a 14-7 lead after the first quarter, freshman quarterback Troy Williams threw two scoring strikes to junior running back Natron Lee, a 25-yarder and a 60-yarder, in the space of five minutes in the second quarter to break the game open.
In between the two aerial scores, Williams rushed for a touchdown, running it in from the one with four minutes left in the second quarter. In all, Williams connected on six-of eight for the night, for 157 yards,
“We threw the ball a little bit better tonight and the deal there is if we‘re able to throw the ball a little bit , that will help us down the stretch and open up the running game,” said Port St. Joe Coach Chuck Gannon, whose team went to 3-2 on the year and 1-1 in the league.
The Tiger Shark running game didn’t need much opening up against the Seahawks, as sophomore running back Jarkice Davis, posted two early rushing touchdowns of 11 and four yards, to give Port St. Joe a 14-0 lead, with three minutes left in the first quarter. Right before the half, Davis ran in from 27 yards out, for his third touchdown, and a 42-14 Tiger Shark halftime lead.
Davis carried the ball 12 times for 139 yards, and helped the cause on defense with his fourth and final touchdown, scooping up a Seahawk fumble from his linebacker position and running it 26 yards into the endzone early in the third quarter, for a 49-14 lead.
The eighth and final Port St. Joe touchdown came with 10 minutes left in the game, when senior Corey North ran the ball 45 yards up the middle.
Junior kicker Justin Hites connected on seven-of-eight extra points, with one blocked.
Franklin County looked to make a game of it in the early stages, as junior Dwayne Griggs had a 10-yard touchdown run with 25 seconds left in the first quarter. Griggs, who is a cousin to Davis, with both sporting #1 on their jerseys, brought the Seahawks within six points 20-14 with an 80-yard touchdown tear midway through the second quarter.
“We gave the Griggs kid too much space,” said Gannon. “He’s a good runner and we just gave him too much space, but he made some good moves also.”
Griggs was saddled with an ankle injury for several minutes late in the game, and senior Skyler Hutchinson had two teeth damaged early on, all evidence of what was a tough physical performance all night by Port. St. Joe.
“We’re getting better at it,” said Gannon. “We got to get stronger in the weight room and we have to play St. Joe football from the past, and that was coming in and stick you for four quarters. And that’s what we did and that’s what we’ve been stressing all year.”
Highlighting halftime was the sixth annual crowning of the Mr. and Miss Franklin County High School, the most coveted title bestowed upon a senior, elected by the student body for who they feel best embodies the spirit of the high school. When considering candidates, the students consider academics, character, leadership, athletics and school spirit.
To handle the crowning duties, last year’s homecoming queen Emerald Norris, filled in for last year’s Miss FCHS, Adreenah Wynn, who is enrolled at the University of Florida. Tressie Buffkin crowned Mr. FCHS on behalf of her brother Chance Buffkin, last year’s recipient, who is presently in the Army.
Selected Miss FCHS was Katie Wood, accompanied by her parents, Charlie and Jeanine Wood, of Carrabelle. She is the granddaughter of Donald and Sandra Wood of Crawfordville, and J.T. and the late Velma Boatwright, of Eastpoint.
Active at school, including serving as vice president of the senior class, Wood plans to major in English and literature at a university.
Selected Mr. FCHS was Zach Howze, accompanied by his mother and stepfather, Stephanie and Lee Jones, and in spirit by his father, the late William Meador.
Howze is active in school, including serving as second vice president of the senior class, and is a student-athlete as well, a member of the football, soccer and baseball teams. He plans to major in sports training at the University of West Florida.
The Seahawks, now 1-5, will not play this Friday night, since Bell, which was set to host Franklin County, has decided to cancel this game. The Seahawks are next up on Oct. 19, when they host West Gadsden for homecoming.