Coral Reef showed up just 10 minutes before kickoff because of a late bus, but that gave the Barracudas just enough warmup time to spoil Palmetto’s homecoming 23-0 Thursday night at Southridge.
Down 10-0 early in the fourth quarter, Palmetto was driving inside the Coral Reef 10 when quarterback Matt Coll fumbled a keeper that was returned 94 yards by Josh Vergara for a touchdown that killed all hopes of a Palmetto comeback.
Coral Reef quarterback and Duke oral commitment Nico Pierre got off to a rocky start with two Blue Devil coaches watching from the sideline. He only completed 4 of 14 first-half passes for 10 yards, but he hooked up with West Virginia recruit Jacob McCrary for a late 19-yard touchdown .
“He had guys wide open and he had some errant passes, but he’ll be OK,” Coral Reef coach Chevas Clements said.
The Barracudas (4-2, 2-0 District 16-8A) ran the first 11 minutes off the second-half clock with an 18-play drive that culminated in a field goal.
Their first touchdown came on a fake field goal that wide receiver/holder Tristen Ferguson was able to run in from five yards away.
Palmetto (2-3, 0-1) turned the ball over five times — four on fumbles.