SPOTLIGHT GAME: Palm Bay 38, St. Pete Northeast 14
By Ed Pierce // August 25, 2012
Prep Football Season Kicks Off
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Pity the St. Pete Northeast football team.
After driving for more than three hours to compete in a Kickoff Classic preseason prep game, the Vikings, a Class 7A team with a record of 4-6 a year ago, had no clue what to expect.
Then they ran into the “Buzzsaw in Black,” a.k.a. the Palm Bay Pirates.
Palm Bay scored early, often and seemingly at will to methodically take out St. Pete Northeast, 38-14.
Despite not having an opportunity to practice since a Red vs. Black intrasquad fundraiser on Monday, the Pirates shined in many aspects of the matchup against the Vikings.
On the game’s opening kickoff, a Vikings’ bobble led to Palm Bay’s Josh Best recovering the ball on the St. Pete Northeast 18-yard line.
It took Leroy Berry of the Pirates just two rushes to cross the goal line for Palm Bay’s first touchdown with just 36 seconds elapsed on the scoreboard.
Flexing some defensive muscle, Palm Bay’s pursuit and pass rush intimidated the Vikings and forced another turnover early in the second quarter.
It led to another TD for the Pirates as receiver Caleb Alves, who has given a commitment to play next season for the University of South Alabama, snared an 18-yard pass from junior quarterback Brian Fallace and a 13-0 Palm Bay lead.
St. Pete Northeast put together a long drive on its next possession and several missed tackles by the Pirates yielded the Vikings’ first score, a 36-yard run by backup quarterback Augie Sanchez with 5:53 left in the half, narrowing Palm Bay’s lead to 13-7.
That appeared to ignite the Pirates’ offense, leading to a 38-yard scoring run by Derylton Hill and another by Brandon Moon with 59 seconds before halftime, boosting Palm Bay’s to a 28-7 lead at intermission.
Continuing a long-standing tradition of outstanding kickers, the Pirates unveiled the talent of Moses Gonzalez against the Vikings. He showed his skill by drilling a 31-yard field goal in the third quarter to make give Palm Bay a 31-7 cushion.
Following the game, Palm Bay coach Dan Burke said he was happy his team escaped the Kickoff Classic without any serious injuries and was pleased with the overall play of the Pirates in light of the lack of practice because of rain during the week. Burke also praised the poise of new starting quarterback Fallace. “He’s a gamer,” Burke said of Fallace. “He looked very good out there.”
Palm Bay’s speedy ground game chewed up the clock as Berry, Hill, Moon and Sekai Lindsey all ripped off long gains and important first downs to deny the Vikings any shot at a comeback in the second half.
Lindsey’s 5-yard off-tackle dash in the fourth quarter handed the Pirates a 38-7 advnatage.
But another missed in the final minutes led to a 92-yard scoring jaunt by St. Pete Northeast’s Keith Herrington and made the final score 38-14 in favor of the Pirates.
Following the game, Palm Bay coach Dan Burke said he was happy his team escaped the Kickoff Classic without any serious injuries and was pleased with the overall play of the Pirates in light of the lack of practice because of rain during the week.
Burke also praised the poise of new starting quarterback Fallace.
“He’s a gamer,” Burke said of Fallace. “He looked very good out there.”
The only concern Burke mentioned he noticed in the Kickoff Classic was some lackadaisical tackling.
“I saw it in the spring game that we didn’t tackle very well, but I think that we’ll work that out and I think we’re going to be fine.”
Palm Bay travels to open the regular season at 7:30 p.m. Friday at McLarty Stadium against Rockledge.
FRIDAY, AUG. 24 PRESEASON PREP GAMES
FLORIDA AIR ACADEMY 68, DUVAL CHARTER 0
MELBOURNE 3, SEBASTIAN RIVER 0
SATELLITE 14, LIBERTY 0
OAK RIDGE 34, TITUSVILLE, 13
HERITAGE 26, VIERA 0
ASTRONAUT 28, EDGEWOOD 20.
ROCKLEDGE 31, EAU GALLIE 7.
WARNER CHRISTIAN 27, HOLY TRINITY 14
OVIEDO 24, BAYSIDE 14
SPACE COAST 33, PINE RIDGE 0
COCOA 25, AMERICAN HERITAGE 7
• 7 p.m. – ORLANDO CHRISTIAN PREP @ MERRITT ISLAND CHRISTIAN
• 7 p.m. – MERRITT ISLAND AT NEW SMYRNA BEACH