GULFPORT — Countryside demolished Boca Ciega 37-7 in its opener Friday, pounding its opposition on offense and swarming on defense. Led by senior backfield teammates Ryan Yates and Michael Jerrido, the Cougars tore through gaps large and small on their way to 213 yards rushing.
The Cougars trailed 7-0 early in the second quarter, when Yates took his first carry 27 yards to give his offense its first new set of downs. They kept calling his number in big spots, as he finished with seven carries for 60 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
"Being the senior leader that I am, I just took the ball and tried to turn the game around and set the tempo," Yates said.
While Yates set the pace for the offense, the defense was busy ball-hawking. Countryside forced six turnovers and stopped the Pirates at the line of scrimmage.
With the game back on track and a 17-7 halftime lead, Jerrido put on a clinic in the second half. The halfback scored two touchdowns and finished with 81 yards on 12 carries.
"They just told me to keep my head forward and keep moving," said Jerrido. "They keep giving (big holes) to me, and I'm going to keep running."
Jacob Stewart, Times correspondent