It can’t be easy. Not for a football coach with Larry Gary’s resume.
“Kids,” Gary says, “will teach you patience.”
Or test it.
Cape Coral never got off the ground Friday night against district rival Charlotte, which exploded for four touchdowns in the game’s first nine minutes and flattened the Seahawks 42-0 – allowing the Tarpons (7-0 overall, 4-0 in District 6A-10) to direct its attention to next week’s historic unbeaten-versus-unbeaten showdown at rival Port Charlotte.
“We thought we could handle them up front,” said Charlotte coach Binky Waldrop. “But it won’t be that easy next week. We did what we wanted to do tonight. We got a win and we got out of here healthy. That’s it.”
The Seahawks (1-7, 1-3) tried to establish a ground game, as senior Isaac Washington – three weeks removed from a 356-yard, five-TD game against Ida Baker – carried 22 times for 100 yards. But the rest of Cape’s offense had exactly zero yards.
Sophomore quarterback Chase Sealander’s 30 yards (on 5-of-15 passing) were offset by four sacks and a bad snap that defensive end Jayden Grant turned into a 17-yard fumble return for a touchdown and a 35-0 Charlotte lead at the half.
“I’m trying to have the level head and give our program the benefit of the doubt,” Gary said. We’re going with a 10th-grader at quarterback, and we’ve got to have patience. We’ve got to live and die with him. We’ve got to hope he’ll get better, and I think he has gotten better.
“We’ve just got to have patience with this team. It’s tough. It’s tough.”
Five of the Seahawks’ seven losses have been by 27 points or more, including a 56-0 drubbing at Port Charlotte on Sept. 19.
But nearly all of Charlotte’s points could be traced to Cape’s doings. Or undoings.
Besides Grant’s fumble return, there was sophomore Nick Giacolone’s interception of a deflected pass that set up the second of Maleek Williams’ three TD runs. Just 1:41 into the game, Dee Hicks tossed a 54-yard scoring pass to Jacob White – who also returned a punt 42 yards for another score.
A roughing-the-passer penalty erased a third-and-15 stop and led to another Tarpons touchdown.
“We can play with anybody, as long as we don’t beat ourselves,” Gary said. “It’s been that way all season. We make it hard on ourselves. Foolish penalties, big plays and turnovers. We limit those, we’re in the ballgame.”
Williams, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound Arkansas commit, was needed for only 11 carries and 44 yards. Hicks added 131 yards on 4-of-13 passing and another 48 on the ground.
“Coach (Waldrop) wanted us to stay focused on this game,” Grant said. “Everybody thought it might be a blowout game, but he wanted us to stay focused and not let up.
“We did good. We stayed on track. We did our jobs.”
Charlotte, making its longest road trip (27.1 miles each way) of the regular season, and Port Charlotte wrapped up playoff spots Friday night, the ninth consecutive for the Tarpons and the 15th in Waldrop’s 18 seasons.
Charlotte holds a dominating 31-4 advantage – including 58-8 and 41-17 wins last fall – in the one-sided rivalry, which began in 1982. But never have both teams, separated by only seven miles and the Peace River, showed up with perfect records.
“It’ll be big game, won’t it?” Waldrop smiled. “I think there will be a few people there to watch.”
CHARLOTTE 42, CAPE CORAL 0
CH 28 | 7 | 7 | 0 — 42
CC 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 — 0
CH – Jacob White 54 pass from Dee Hicks (Kenny Scribner kick), 10:19
CH – Maleek Williams 1 run (kick blocked), 5:09
CH – White 42 punt return (Scribner kick), 4:43
CH – Williams 2 run (Andrew Grace pass from Hicks), 2:54
CH – Jayden Grant 17 fumble return (Scribner kick), 2:20
CH – Williams 1 run (Scribner kick), 4:40
Rushing — CH, Dee Hicks 4-48, Maleek Williams 11-44, Andrew Grace 4-42, Marcus Nelson 4-38, Jeremiah Harvey 3-10, Ny Harvey 1-10, Miles Hayes 3-8. CAPE, Isaac Washington 22-100, Rickey Anderson 4-8, Chase Sealander 4-(-20).
Passing — CH, Dee Hicks 4-13-0-131. CAPE, Chase Sealander 5-15-2-30.
Receiving — CH, Travon McClary 2-57, Jacob White 1-54, Andrew Grace 1-20. CAPE, Dwayne Emilus 3-32, Isaac Washington 2-(-2).