CLEARWATER — Palmetto stunned Countryside 27-0 Thursday night, using a speedy, opportunistic defense to cause three turnovers, converting each into touchdowns.
The Palmetto defensive line sacked the Countryside quarterback duo of Robby Hicks and Trent Chmelik five times, and several vicious hits from Tiger defensive backs fired up the visitors from Manatee County.
Palmetto led 7-0 in the second quarter when Countryside (2-1) drove down to the 3-yard line looking to even the score. A fumble on the 1-yard line and subsequent 99-yard drive put Palmetto up 13-0 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Palmetto scored a touchdown on fourth and 2 on a pass from Sean Allison to Simon Williams. On the next possession, Palmetto (1-2) intercepted a pass deep in Cougar territory which led to an 11-yard touchdown scamper by Joshua Hicks.
Joshua Hicks finished the game with 109 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.
"We knew our first three games were a murderer's row," Palmetto coach Dave Marino said. "I told our team if we don't turn the ball over, we can play with anybody."
Countryside's Robby Hicks took a hit and was knocked out of the game.
Rick Cantor, Times correspondent