TITUSVILLE – There were heroes for Palm Bay in just about every corner of the postgame huddle, from defense to special teams to an offensive line that blocked for 288 yards of rushing on Friday in a 45-10 win, the Pirates’ fourth in a row.
Having beaten Titusville, Palm Bay (4-1) retained a share of the lead in District 14-5A at 2-0, with Merritt Island, a 35-0 winner over Satellite. The two will meet on Oct. 23.
The Pirates’ defense gave top Terriers rusher Jaleel Davis no room to maneuver, frequently meeting him in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage. They held him to 51 yards, but Palm Bay linebacker Jared Morris said there was a bigger picture.
“Everyone was just playing their position. It wasn’t about just stopping one player,” he said. “It was stopping the whole offense.”
Not only did the Palm Bay defense stifle the home team, but when Titusville did move the ball, the Pirates responded, twice with key special teams plays.
The Terriers moved effectively down the field after Palm Bay opened the scoring with a 31-yard Brian Lankford-Johnson run. Stalling inside the 10, Titusville set up for a short field goal to cut into the lead, but Mitchell Cook blocked the kick. While the Terriers seemed to have trouble spotting the batted ball, three Palm Bay players chased it toward midfield.
Ozzie Samuel picked it up and ran the final 53 to a 14-0 lead.
Two minutes into the second quarter, a 53-yard run by Dontavious Marcus cut Palm Bay’s early two-touchdown lead in half, but a kickoff return to midfield set up the Pirates to respond quickly.
They did. In 1:35 of game clock time, they moved into the red zone and capitalized with a 9-yard scoring run by Tyshaun Rolle.
Lankford-Johnson led a varied Pirates attack with 176 yards on 18 rushes. He added a 67-yarder on the first play of the fourth quarter. Dez Arthur, who gained 54 on 10 carries, scored from the 2, and Morris ended the scoring with a 17-yard run.
“We prepare well in practice, do a lot of scouting,” Palm Bay offensive lineman Jake Howell said. “We watch a lot of film, know what stunts they run.”
Anthony Dibenedetto connected on an 18-yard field goal for the Pirates. Christian Shinholster kicked a 32-yarder for the Terriers.
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High school sports | floridatoday.com/sports/high-school-sports/
Palm Bay 45, Titusville 10
Palm Bay 14 9 2 20 — 45
Titusville 0 10 0 0 — 10
HOW THEY SCORED
PB — Brian Lankford-Johnson 31 run (Anthony Dibenedetto kick), 8:33
PB — Ozzie Samuel 53 return (Dibenedetto kick), 2:00
T — Dontavious Marcus 53 run (Christian Shinholster kick), 9:43
PB — Tyshaun Rolle 9 run (kick failed), 8:08
T — Shinholster 32 FG, 2:40
PB — Dibenedetto 18 FG, 0:00
PB — Safety, 0:17
PB — Lankford-Johnson 67 run (kick failed), 11:47
PB — Dez Arthur 2 run (Chase Harris run), 7:45
PB — Jared Morris 17 run (pass failed), 2:10
Rushing: PB — Lankford-Johnson 18-176, Arthur 10-54, Rolle 6-26, Jared Morris 1-17, Chase Harris 2-11, Tyrese Lyons 1-4; T — Marcus 5-88, Jaleel Davis 16-51, Yusuf DeReese 7-6, Chace Gadapee 4-(-19). Passing: PB — Stuart Brown 5-10-0 79; T — Gadapee 4-5-0 54, DeReese 3-8-1 26. Receiving: PB — Harris 4-68, Arthur 1-11; T — Tommy Mack 3-30, Marcus 3-40, Rashean Lynn 1-10.