EASTPOINT — Port St. Joe found success in the air Friday night to complement a steady running game as it downed Franklin County 56-14 in District 4-1A.
His team holding a 14-7 lead after the first quarter, freshman quarterback Troy Williams threw two scoring strikes to junior running back Natron Lee, a 25-yarder and a 60-yarder, in the space of five minutes in the second quarter to break the game open.
In between the two aerial scores, Williams rushed for a touchdown from the 1 with four minutes left in the second quarter. In all, Williams connected on six of eight passes for 157 yards as Port St. Joe improved to 3-2, 1-1, Franklin County is 1-5, 0-1.
“We threw the ball a little bit better tonight and the deal there is if we’re able to throw the ball a little bit that will help us down the stretch and open up the running game,” Port St. Joe coach Chuck Gannon said.
The Tiger Shark running game didn’t need much opening up against the Seahawks, as sophomore running back Jarkice Davis, posted two early rushing touchdowns of 11 and 4 yards, to give Port St. Joe a 14-0 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter. Right before the half, Davis ran in from 27 yards for his third touchdown, and a 42-14 halftime lead.
Davis carried 12 times for 139 yards, and helped the cause on defense with his fourth and final touchdown, scooping up a Seahawk fumble from his linebacker position and running it 26 yards for a 49-14 lead.
The eighth and final Port St. Joe touchdown came with 10 minutes left in the game when senior Corey North ran 45 yards up the middle.
Junior place-kicker Justin Hites connected on seven of eight extra points, with one blocked.
Franklin County, whose players wore pink socks in tribute to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, looked to make a game of it in the early stages as junior Dwayne Griggs had a 10-yard touchdown run with 25 seconds left in the first quarter. Griggs, who is a cousin to Davis with both sporting No. 1 on their jerseys, brought the Seahawks within 20-14 with an 80-yard touchdown tear midway through the second quarter.
“We gave the Griggs kid too much space,” Gannon said. “He’s a good runner and we just gave him too much space, but he made some good moves also.”
Griggs was saddled with an ankle injury for several minutes late in the game, evidence of what was a tough physical performance all night by Port. St. Joe.
“We’re getting better at it,” Gannon said. “We got to get stronger in the weight room and we have to play St. Joe football from the past, and that was coming in and stick you for four quarters.
“And that’s what we did and that’s what we’ve been stressing all year.”