Palmetto Puts Auburndale Away, 27-9
Sat. November 17, 2012 at 12:19 a.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
Auburndale's Wilshonn Jefferson tries to run down Palmetto's Cory Crawford on Friday night. (Photo by PAUL CRATE | LEDGER MEDIA GROUP )
By BILL KEMP
LEDGER MEDIA GROUP
AUBURNDALE | Some call it a game of inches, but this was more like a game of fingertips.
Palmetto quarterback Chris Tuten changed near disaster into six points and broke Auburndale's back in a split second in Friday's Class 5A playoff game at Bruce Canova Stadium while piloting the Tigers to a 27-9 win over the Bloodhounds.
Facing a pivotal third-and-goal from the 5-yard line with 48 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Tuten somehow fielded a snap that was over his head with his fingertips, controlled the ball and scampered up the middle for the touchdown to give Palmetto a 21-0 lead.
"That definitely was a back-breaker. Here we thought we had made a huge play to stop them, but that's football and that thing bounces funny sometimes," Auburndale head coach Ken Grantham said.
The Bloodhounds (6-5) had won four consecutive games and the District 10 championship but had trouble moving the ball against the Tigers until late in the fourth quarter.
"I'm proud of our kids I thought they played hard," Grantham said. "We just dropped a couple of coverages and made some execution errors.
"Offensively for some reason we just could never get in a rhythm."
Tuten and Tigers' wide receiver Shaquille Harris both scored a pair of touchdowns before Auburndale broke through with a 15-yard touchdown catch by Daryle Henry from Brett Taylor with just over 3 minutes remaining in the game.
Palmetto (9-2) will advance to play Lake Wales at Legion Field next week in a regional semifinal game.
"Chris really stepped up tonight," Palmetto head coach Dave Marino said. "To make that play and get that snap and then convert it into a touchdown, that was definitely huge."
Palmetto 7 7 7 6 — 27
Auburndale 0 0 0 9 — 9
PHS — Chris Tuten 2-yard run at 7:44 (Reda kick)
PHS — Shaquille Harris 57-yard pass from Josh Hicks at 5:31 (Reda kick)
PHS — Chris Tuten 5-yard run at 48 seconds (Reda kick) 21-0
PHS — Shaquille Harris 12-yard pass from Chris Tuten at 8:14 (kick failed) 27-0
AHS — Daryle Henry 15-yard pass from Brett Taylor at 3:32 (Burris Warren kick) 27-7
AHS — safety, punter ran out of end zone
P | A
First downs 11 17
Rushes/Yards 29/83 36/61
Passing 9-15-0 12-29-0
Passing Yards 194 220
Total Yards 277 281
Fumbles/Lost 1/1 1/0
Punts/avg 4/37.5 7/38
Penalties/Yards 8/93 7/62
Records 9-2 6-5