Barron Collier coach Mark Jackson, front, huddles up with his offensive line — left to right, Elkhanan Tanelus, Justice Sargood, Jarret English, Joe Landy and Sebastian Torres — after Friday night's 44-33 win at Immokalee High School. GREGG HARDY/CSI
It was a “ground and pound” vs. “speed thrills” kind of matchup Friday night at Immokalee High School.
The Barron Collier Cougars sprinkled in some quick-strike plays in their “ground and pound” attack as they pushed around a quicker but smaller Immokalee Indians in a 44-33 win.
While Drew Powell and Jayden Rolle ran in all six of Barron’s touchdowns, Cougars coach Mark Jackson knows where the power lies with his team. It’s with the five guys up front: senior left tackle Sebastian Torres, senior left guard Elkhanan Tanelus, senior center Jarret English, junior right guard Joe Landy and junior right tackle Justice Sargood.
“They’ve played well the last couple weeks and are only going to get better,” Jackson said after he huddled up with his Big 5 immediately following the game to give them their due. “That’s what we’re going to hang our hat on.”
Said English: “Coach pushes us really hard during the week at practice. He pushes us harder than any other group, and it’s because he expects the offense to run with us.”
The beef of the Cougars’ O-Line lies in the middle with Division I recruit Tanelus (6-foot-3, 295 pounds), English (6-4, 263) and Landy (6-2, 290).
Powell used the gaping holes generated by his line to seal the game’s outcome with fourth-quarter scampers of 55 and 47 yards.
English echoed Jackson’s belief that Barron’s O-line is only going to get better, saying, “I don’t think we’ve hit our full potential yet, but I think we’re getting there.”
Besides creating those vast running lanes, Jackson needs the Cougars’ offensive line to help ease first-year starting quarterback Jason Grimes into the heat of battle. Fortunately for Grimes, a junior, he’s got a mature group in front of him.
“We just ask him to help us manage the game,” Jackson said of Grimes, who found Rolle with some well-timed passes throughout the night, including a two-point conversion in the first quarter. “He needs to grow up and accept his role and understand his role — take care of the ball. He did an OK job tonight, but he’ll get better, too.”
As for the Cougars’ defensive effort (they did surrender 33 points and a lot of big plays)?
“Defensively … ‘bend, don’t break’ philosophy,” Jackson said. “(The Indians) have got some athletes; it’s hard to stop them all night long, but we did enough.”
The Cougars (2-1) were coming off a 32-31 home loss to Superior Collegiate — a game they led 31-19 in the fourth quarter. Barron failed to score in that final quarter.
Said Jackson: “This week in practice after (last week’s game), we wanted to really stress finishing, and so we really pushed them hard the last four days, and they responded tonight. We’re excited about the direction we’re going.”
Immokalee is 0-3. Let that sink in — 0-3.
The Indians made a bunch of big plays Friday night. Raheem Toombs’ 51-yard touchdown run gave Immokalee a 13-8 lead after one quarter. His brother, Charles, caused the home crowd to roar with an electric 68-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that cut Barron’s lead to 23-19. Later in that see-saw third quarter, Rosales found Eddie Joseph on a 51-yard pass play to again pull Immokalee within a score of Barron.
But it was the little things that added up against the Indians — penalties, missed blocks, blown assignments and a missed snap on a punt that led to a safety.
“We lacked the detail that we needed, and throughout the week the detail that we overlooked was the detail that was most prevalent on Friday night,” Immokalee coach Rodelin Anthony said.
There is a mitigating factor in the Indians’ winless record: Injuries. Namely to their starting quarterback RJ Rosales, who made his first start under center this season after suffering an injury to his non-throwing shoulder.
Anthony sounded conflicted on how to assess his team’s performance through three games.
“I’m not going to give us any excuses. At some point, we’ve just got to realize that ‘hey, it’s time to play.’ The game of football doesn’t allow you time to continue to develop. Either you use your develop time wisely and now you’re on full cylinders, or you’re developing as the season goes on. You don’t want to be that team that develops as the season goes on.”
“But when you have injuries like we do, and getting those guys back, we are kind of still developing and still revving up. And we’ll be what we need to be — like any old car. An old Oldsmobile, you just don’t drive it and turn it on after it’s been in the snow. You’ve got to let that bad boy warm up. These new hybrid things, you could just drive and go. But we’ve got to let that bad boy warm up for a little bit.”
The good news for Immokalee? After scoring a combined 20 points in their first two games (both blowout road losses to Golden Gate and University School) the Indians have regained their trademark explosiveness with Rosales back in the lineup.
Edgerrin Anderson bookended the game’s scoring with a couple of touchdown runs.
“These guys gotta learn, ‘hey, this is Immokalee football. We go both ways here,’” Anthony said. “You gotta be in shape.”
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