Tate High School quarterback Sawyer Smith shrugs off Gulf Breeze’s Chase Blake on his way toward the end zone Thursday during kickoff classic in Gulf Breeze.
Looking at the schedule, Gulf Breeze coach Chris Nemith said he expected to see a speedy Tate team Thursday night.
In the varsity portion, the Aggies fulfilled Nemith’s premonition and generated 231 yards on the ground to go along with three rushing touchdowns as Tate defeated Gulf Breeze 34-0.
“We needed to see the physicality and the speed of the game,” Nemith said.
“We tried to play as many kids as possible, so we could get them on film.”
The Dolphins started out hot defensively, intercepting Tate quarterback Sawyer Smith on their first drive.
But Smith felt confident in his defense and the offense’s ability to bounce back.
“We can always rely on our defense,” Smith said.
“That pass slipped coming out, but our defense came out and forced a three-and-out. We’re potent on offense this year. When we (offense) light it up, our defense does the same.”
The Aggies finished their next drive with a 7-yard touchdown run, compliments of Smith.
Alonte Thompson and LaDarius Thomas each added rushing touchdowns, finishing with 80 and 67 yards on the ground, respectively.
Defensively, De-vekyo Lewis was pivotal in the shutout, grabbing two interceptions and returning one for a touchdown.
“We’re real disciplined on defense this year, the coaches do a great job,” Lewis said.
“We don’t get a big head and we don’t give in. We listen to the coaches. The end result should be good when you do that.”
Despite being unable to find the endzone, the Dolphins offense displayed explosiveness; especially in the receiving corps.
Dolphin’s quarterback Tyler Phelps led an air attack which compiled 121 yards divided amongst eight different receivers.
Jacob Kubik finished with 57 receiving yards on five catches, including a 42-yard strike.
Running back Josh Irby did a bit of rushing and receiving out of the backfield, but his most impressive play came on a kick return.
In the closing minutes of the fourth, down 34-0, the senior invigorated his teammates and the Dolphins’ fan base with a 68-yard return, making several would-be tacklers miss along the way.
Aggies coach Ronnie Douglas said he was proud to start off against Gulf Breeze.
“These guys have been tough against us; they got some tough, big guys in the middle,” said Douglas, entering his second season at Tate.
“Coach (Doug) Allen does a great job with our running backs, and Coach (Tank) Williamson does a great job with the O-Line — it was a good showing by all the players.”
Preseason Kickoff Classics
» Jay at Baker, 7 p.m.
» Pensacola High at West Florida, 7 p.m.
» Pace at Crestview, 7 p.m.
» East Gadsden at Washington, 7 p.m.
» Catholic at Fort Walton Beach, 7 p.m.
Listen to the Game of the Week on ESPN Radio Pensacola with hosts Paul Chesnutt, Ruddie Marques, Bubba Griffith and the PNJ sports staff.