It’s one thing to talk about being tough in the face of Charlotte High’s highlight-a-minute running game.
It’s another to do it.
Ida Baker found that out the hard way Friday night, its four fumbles only adding to the misery caused by the 340 yards that the Tarpons (3-0 overall, 1-0 in Class 6A-District 10) piled up in their first 19 offensive snaps. The result, predictably, was a 45-0 halftime hole for the Bulldogs and a 52-7 loss at Tarpon Stadium.
“All week, we’ve preached toughness,” said Baker coach Brian Conn. “Charlotte always plays physical up front, but we just got out of a game with Braden River that was very similar.
“Obviously, we were a little bit undersized two weeks in a row. We just wanted to be tougher, play with leverage and really just see a lot of great effort from the guys. But that’s not what we ended up getting in the first half.”
Not even close.
Quarterback Dee Hicks lobbed a 7-yard pass to Jacob White in the left corner. Travon McClary turned a reverse into a 55-yard highlight. D’Vonte Price dashed 83 yards down the sideline. Maleek Williams chugged 20 yards up the middle. And Price added a dazzling 56-yard breakaway and cutback.
All five plays ended in the same place – the end zone.
All five Charlotte playmakers are seniors.
“We start 18 seniors. We’re a senior-heavy football team, so we’d better be good,” said Tarpons coach Binky Waldrop. “We’ve got great athletes, and you know what, we’re going to enjoy them while we’ve got them.”
Charlotte will take a 16-game regular-season winning streak into next Friday’s test at Fort Myers, one of only three scheduled road games. The Tarpons have scored 157 points in their three wins, gliding virtually unchallenged to 965 yards and 15 TDs in 83 running plays. That’s almost 322 yards per game – and 11.6 per snap.
“Turnovers on offense, not blocking very well, not tackling in defense,” said Conn, running down the laundry list of problems. “Charlotte is obviously a very good team, but we’re embarrassed with the team we showed up with tonight.”
Ida Baker (1-3, 0-1) fumbled four times in the first half. The last was picked up by Ny Harvey and lateralled to senior linebacker Cazea Smith, who rumbled 30 yards for a touchdown that made it 45-0 with 25.5 seconds left in the half.
Trailing 17-0 after McClary’s reverse, the Bulldogs did put together a 13-play drive, as junior quarterback Toby Noland (14-of-24, 157 yards) completed five of nine passes, including a 30-yarder to senior Luke Endsley (five catches, 66 yards).
But on fourth-and-5 from Charlotte’s 16, Noland’s pass to Endsley on the first play of the second quarter fell incomplete.
Two plays later, Price exploded around right end and outran the Baker defense along the visiting sideline for an 83-yard score – the first of the Tarpons’ four TDs in the second quarter.
Endsley did manage a 61-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-3 with 8:40 left in the game, allowing the Bulldogs to avoid the shutout.
IB 0 | 0 | 0 | 7 — 7
CH 17 | 28 | 7 | 0 | 0 — 52
CH – Jacob White 7 pass from Dee Hicks (Kenny Scribner kick), 10:12
CH – Scribner 21 field goal, 7:14
CH – Travon McClary 55 run (Scribner kick), 4:52
CH – D’Vonte Price 83 run (Scribner kick), 11:05
CH – Maleek Williams 20 run (Scribner kick), 6:40
CH – Price 56 run (Scribner kick), 2:44
CH – Cazea Smith 30 run with lateral after fumble recovery (Scribner kick), 0:25.5
CH – Andrew Grace 6 run (Scribner kick), 6:29
IB – Luke Endsley 61 run (Scribner kick), 8:40
Rushing — IB, Luke Endsley 3-61, Shomari Mason 8-16, James Stewart 6-11, Toby Noland 5-(-19). CH, D’Vonte Price 2-139, Maleek Williams10-77, Travon McClary 1-55, Andrew Grace 4-55, Anthony Fisher 4-8, Ny Harvey 1-7, Lavell Cudjo 3-(-4), Dee Hicks 1-(-15).
Passing — IB, Toby Noland 14-24-0-157. CH, Dee Hicks 4-9-0-89.
Receiving — IB, Luke Endsley 5-66, James Cuttino 4-38, Josh Nina 3-31, Luis Almendarez 1-18, David Drennan 1-4. CH, Jacob White 12-48, Travon McClary 1-32, Billy Ritter 1-9.