The smash mouth running of Tyler Gresham brought Marco Island Academy its first win of the season 29-21 over winless Evangelical Christian Academy Friday night.
Gresham came at ECS on the ground and through the air. He ran for two touchdowns and caught two more. He ended the night with 170 yards rushing.
“It’s really something when everyone fights together,” said Gresham.
ECS tried to crawl back into the game when Correy Massey ripped off a 40-yard touchdown run. But MIA quickly responded when Gresham caught a 2-yard jump ball from Matt Grille with less than five minutes to go in the game.
Then ECS nearly gave the Manta Rays an early Halloween fright after a 32-yard field goal by the Manta Ray’s Josh DaCruz with two minutes to go.
First Massey returned Cruz’s kick 35 yards to put the Sentinels in great field position. He followed it up by snagging a 35-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Logan Pearlman.
Then Tucker Rogers recovered an onside kick for ECS with less than two minutes on the clock at MIA’s 49-yard line. With no timeouts Pearlman tossed a couple of passes to put the Sentinels in position for another score at the MIA 25 yard line.
He was looking into the end zone when MIA sophomore defensive back Tyler Pafko made a physical interception at the four yard line to stop the Sentinel drive.
“We were in the perfect position with the perfect call but it was what it was,” said ECS head coach Tyler Gold. “Our kids they just don’t care about their record right now, they playing for everything they’ve got.”
The first win for MIA head coach Damon Corio resulted in a Gatorade bath. “They’ve just shown resilience this season, they’ve accepted who they are.”
Corio couldn’t say enough about his seniors,” Gresham, Bon Deese, Vinnie Moeller, Kyle Ginther, those guys have been through the wringer our four years here.”
MARCO ISLAND ACADEMY 29, EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN 21
MIA 0 14 0 15 — 29
ECS 0 7 0 14 — 21
MIA — Tyler Gresham 10 run (kick failed) 7:57
ECS — Jimmy Mera 10 run (Luke McDaniel kick) 5:14
MIA — Gresham 56 pass from Matt Grille (Gresham run) 0:03
MIA — Gresham 25 run (kick blocked) 9:00
ECS — Correy Massey 40 run (McDaniel kick) 5:14
MIA — Gresham 28 pass from Grille (run failed) 4:52
MIA — Josh DaCruz 32 field goal 2:00
ECS — Massey 35 pass from Logan Pearlman (McDaniel kick) 1:50
Rushing — MIA, Tyler Gresham 24-170, Vinnie Moller 12-56, Will Carlisle 1- -2, Ben Deese 3-12, Matthew Grille 8-18; ECS, Jimmy Mera 16-63, Correy Massey 5-45, Mark Fuchs 1-6, Logan Pearlman 1 -9, Franco Joseph 3-15
Passing — MIA, Grille 2-4-0 84; MIA, Pearlman 8-15-2 75
Receiving — MIA, Gresham 2-84; ECS, Daniel Ibarra 1-17, Massey 2-33, Judson Turley 2-2, Mera 2-24, Tucker Rogers 1-(minus 1)