SATELLITE BEACH — In their respective Kickoff Classic games last week, Satellite earned a thrilling come-from-behind 9-7 victory over a talented St. Cloud squad while Eau Gallie was throttled by former district rival Viera 55-7.
None of that momentum meant anything on Friday Night at Scorpion Stadium.
Eau Gallie running back Jalen Shelton scored three touchdowns and the Commodores’ defense forced four first-half turnovers en route to a convincing 24-14 win over Satellite in both teams’ opening regular contest.
“We have to get better every week,” said Eau Gallie head coach Tim Powers. “We were definitely better this Friday than we were last Friday night.”
Satellite managed a couple of trips into the red zone, but even then Eau Gallie’s defense was able to force turnovers in both instances, and otherwise stymied Satellite’s offense throughout.
“We were just doing our basic defense and we were just doing our job,” said Eau Gallie defensive back Quentin Cowan. “Everybody’s just doing their job and we just went out there and tried our hardest.”
“Defense played well. We had a couple issues getting lined up here and there,” Powers said. We’ve got a lot of young guys on the field so once we were able to get lined up and squeeze down blocks and get lined up, you know, they flew around and made plays.”
After a field goal put them up 3-0 on the opening possession of the game, Quentin Cowan’s interception set up a 60-yard scamper by Shelton that put his team up 10-0.
“I got into my drop and they did a wheel route and I came over and I saw the quarterback eyes and I picked it,” Cowan said.
After the Commodores recovered a fumble in their own territory off a Scorpion fourth-down attempt, they were able to drive down the field right before the half, capping it off with another score from Shelton from two yards out that put Eau Gallie up 17-0.
Shelton added his and the team’s third touchdown of the night via a 27-yard jaunt that essentially put the game away late in the third quarter.
“The (offensive) line just opened holes,” said Shelton, who finished with 106 yards on 15 carries and the three scores.
The Scorpions lost their go-to offensive player, junior running back Zachary Switzer, on their second play from scrimmage due to an apparent injury, but senior Jacob Payne filled in admirably, rushing for 91 yards on 22 carries.
They got on the board late when Erik Askeland, who had 101 total yards on the evening, scored from four yards out with less than five minutes remaining in the contest and they tallied another score when quarterback Noah Mumme found a wide-open Harrison Kennedy on a 42-yard pitch and catch with 23 seconds left in the game. A two-point conversion from Payne saw the Scorpions draw the final score to within ten.
Eau Gallie will travel to Astronaut next Friday night while the Scorpions host Melbourne Central Catholic.
Contact Bonanno at 321-242-3662, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Chris on Twitter @FTChrisBonanno.