MELBOURNE– The young group on Commodore Boulevard is, all of a sudden, in control of its own postseason destiny.
Despite a team loaded with underclassmen who lost their district opener to powerful Heritage by 39 points, Eau Gallie evened its District 15-6A record in convincing fashion on Thursday, 45-0 over Bayside.
The Commodores, now 3-2 overall and 1-1 in district play, have three district games remaining, but they are at least in the conversation.
“We had a good night,” Eau Gallie coach Tim Powers said. “The passing game was better. The running game was excellent. We put a body on a body, which is what we’ve been preaching all year.”
A variety of backs benefited, none more than Jalen Shelton. He carried 17 times for 214 yards, scoring on runs of 5, 14 and 60 yards. The first was a dive over the pylon and the last a weaving long one, avoiding tackler after tackler while waiting patiently for every block along the way.
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What really got the Commodores rolling was the first of two interceptions by Chase Smith. One of a few seniors, he shook off a near-perfect fake by Bayside quarterback Patric McNally, stepped in front of the intended receiver and gathered the ball for a 25-yard sprint to the end zone.
That gave Eau Gallie a 14-0 lead midway through the second period.
“I ran like nothing could ever catch me again,” Smith said. “I got that and it was the greatest feeling in the world.”
Not for Bayside. The Bears dropped to 0-5 and 0-2 despite a 204-yard passing night by McNally. That included six to John Saint-Vil for 110 yards. On one drive, Saint-Vil made catches of 17 and 19 yards, but the Bears stalled on third and goal from the 4, moving backward with a delay penalty and then turning the ball over on downs.
“We’ve been there,” Powers said. “We had a great week of practice, and I’m just really proud of our guys, especially the exectution of fundamentals.”
Tyvone Brooks also had a productive night for the home team, carrying 11 times for 71 yards. Ken McKay scored on a 24-yard run in the fourth quarter, followed by a 29-yarder from Mario Harris.
Eau Gallie 45, Bayside 0
Bayside 0 0 0 0 — 0
Eau Gallie 7 10 14 14 — 45
HOW THEY SCORED
EG — Jalen Shelton 5 run (Matt Stephens kick), 6:28.
EG — Chase Smith 25 interception return (Stephens kick), 5:13.
EG — Stephens 24 FG, 0:00.
EG — Shelton 14 run (Stephens kick), 10:04.
EG — Shelton 60 run (Stephens kick), 3:44.
EG — Ken McKay 24 run (Stephens kick), 11:55.
EG — Mario Harris 29 run (Stephens kick), 6:30.
Rushing: B — D’Andre Edwards 9-27, Joel Dorjuste 7-23, McNally 5-16, Sheridon Archer 3-(-3); EG — Shelton 17-214, Tyvone Brooks 11-71, McKay 5-44, Matt Wilson 4-41, Harris 1-29, Jamal Wesley 3-18. Passing: B — McNally 11-32-2 204; EG — Wilson 5-11-0 79. Receiving: B — John Saint-Vil 6-110, Troy Hilton 2-62, Johnny Poret 1-22, Kevin Hill 1-6, Dorjuste 1-4; EG — Shelton 2-41, Jamie Duran 2-26, Cordell Dzara 1-12.
High school sports | floridatoday.com/sports/high-school-sports/