MELBOURNE — Just three miles separates Palm Bay High School and Melbourne High School along Babcock Street in south central Brevard.
The difference between the two football teams is much greater.
Brian Lankford-Johnson ran for 226 yards and four touchdowns as the Pirates pounded Melbourne 42-0 on Friday night.
“I just think we’re starting to gel. I hope that’s what it is,” said Palm Bay head coach Dan Burke. “We practice long and hard like everybody else and you hope as time goes by, you get better.”
Palm Bay took control early, scoring on the opening drive as Lankford-Johnson scampered into the end zone from 37 yards out. After a shanked punt, Palm Bay scored a little more than a minute later, when quarterback Stuart Brown found Dez Arthur on a 30-yard pitch-and-catch to put the Pirates up 14-0 midway through the first.
The onslaught continued in the second quarter as Lankford-Johnson scored on runs of 51 and 6 yards. Brown then found Arthur just before halftime on a picture-perfect 25-yard corner route for a touchdown that gave Palm Bay a 35-0 advantage at the break.
“We just wanted to establish the run at first, get the defense coming up front and then we got them off their feet and we play-actioned and we went deep with it,” Brown said.
“Stuart’s a very accurate passer when we can protect him,” Burke said. “Of course, the running game plays into a lot of what we do, so when our running game’s working, it opens a lot of stuff up for us.”
Lankford-Johnson took his lone second-half carry 75 yards to conclude the game’s scoring.
Brown completed 11 of 14 passes for 123 yards. Arthur caught six passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns, with all of their statistics coming in the first half.
The Pirates’ defense was also smothering, limiting the Bulldogs to two first downs in the first half and just 116 yards overall.
“I’m proud of the guys, the way we played,” added Burke. “We’ve got a lot of guys playing both ways, so conditioning’s a big thing, so we’ve got to rest them accordingly, so that’s something that every game’s a challenge for us.”
Palm Bay 42, Melbourne 0
Palm Bay 14 21 7 0 — 42
Melbourne 0 0 0 0 — 0
HOW THEY SCORED
PB — Brian Lankford-Johnson 37 run (Anthony DiBenedetto kick), 7:23.
PB — Dez Arthur 30 pass from Stuart Brown (DiBenedetto kick), 6:10.
PB — Lankford-Johnson 51run (DiBenedetto kick), 8:05.
PB — Lankford-Johnson 6 run (DiBenedetto kick), 3:21.
PB — Arthur 25 pass from Brown (DiBenedetto kick) :17.
PB — Lankford-Johnson 75run (DiBenedetto kick), 7:20.
Rushing: PB — Brian Lankford-Johnson 13-226 (4 TDs), Tyshaun Rolle 7-36, Tyrese Lyons 3-25, Javonn Roberson 2-10, Twonnie Pollard 1-1; M — Shannon Birks 6-37, Elijah Burnett 7-30, Q Terry 6-9, Connor Kaminski 1-1. Passing: PB — Stuart Brown 11-14-122 yards (2 TD), Roberson 0-1-0; M — Burnett 0-4-0. Receiving: PB — Dez Arthur 6-83 (2 TDs), Chase Harris 3-25, Tyrese Lyons 1-7, Jared Morris 1-7.
Records: Palm Bay: 3-1, 1-0 in Class 5A, District 14; Melbourne: 0-4, 0-0 in Class 7A, District 7.