GULFPORT — The Boca Ciega defense set the tone for the game when defensive end Victor Sanchez batted down a first-quarter pass that tumbled into the arms of quick-thinking Julius Forte, who turned and dashed the 32 yards to score.
"I thought to myself, I gotta get it … " Forte said. "I was surprised it fell in my hands myself, but when I realized I had it, I took off, no looking back."
The high-powered passing game of the Gladiators (5-5) got them back into the game when quarterback Josh Rembert launched a pass to running back Jarvis West, who scored. But the Pirates (3-7) closed the half up by three because of a 28-yard Zachary Mathew field goal.
The Pirates showed their young talents in the third quarter when sophomore quarterback Shaquille Bradford connected with junior wide receiver Joseph Lynn for a 66-yard TD.
Marc Vallin, Times correspondent