Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Seminole Defense Sets Tone, Stuffs Tigers

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Seminole Defense Sets Tone, Stuffs Tigers

Article excerpt

PALMETTO

CLASS 5A-10: Southeast wins district title and hands Palmetto 2nd loss

His team gathered behind him, chanting, "I Believe."

Southeast coach Paul Maechtle believes now, too.

The Seminoles' defense held Palmetto to 149 total yards and six first downs Friday night at Harllee Stadium, and the offense scored on back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter to give Southeast a 31- 17 victory over Palmetto that clinched the Class 5A-District 10 title.

"That was a complete high school football game," Maechtle told his players. "But you know, we're probably going to be playing these guys again."

True enough. Southeast (8-2 overall, 4-0 district) wrapped up home-field advantage for the first two rounds of the 5A state playoffs -- but the second opponent will be the Tigers (7-2, 3-1), if both teams win their postseason openers on Nov. 16.

Palmetto lost for the second consecutive week after a 7-0 start.

Junior running back Courtney Allen scored a pair of touchdowns and rushed for 101 yards in 23 carries, adding crucial kickoff returns of 41 and 59 yards late in the game. But it was Southeast's defense that set the tone early, limiting Palmetto's offense to only two first downs and 39 total yards in the first half.

"Chris (Tuten, Palmetto's quarterback) is a sophomore and he's learning every play, but offensively, we've got to get better," said Tigers coach Dave Marino. "We're just not doing enough."

It might be the time to recall that Palmetto's 1975 state championship team lost its last three regular-season games -- to Venice, Hardee County and Southeast.

Or maybe not.

"This is a championship game. They don't just give away championships, and our kids have got to learn that," Marino said. "We're not getting that passion and desire to be a champion. It's a process and it's what we're trying to teach them."

Despite its sturdy defense limiting the hosts to two first downs and 39 yards in the first half, the 'Noles led only 7-0 at the break, but sophomore linebacker Denqualyn Joyner recovered junior Josh Hicks' fumble on the second-half kickoff at the Tigers' 8-yard line. …

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