Titans-Sharks rewind: GCHS’s backup frosh QB looks like he’ll be ‘real deal’

Freshman quarterback Konner Barrett started in place an injured Justin Mattia and helped lead Gulf Coast to a season-opening 27-0 home win over Golden Gate on Friday. CHRISTOPHER SVITEK/SPECIAL TO CSI

Editor’s note: “Cassin’s Call” — a weekly installment that previews a specific all-Collier County high school football matchup — is posted every Thursday on CollierSportsInsider.com.

Jon Cassin, the former quarterbacks coach at Golden Gate High School, provides his take on Friday night’s Golden Gate-Gulf Coast game.

FINAL: Gulf Coast 27, Golden Gate 0.

NOTES: Not at all surprised by the Sharks’ home win in the regular-season opener. I had this game as a coin-flip (albeit going to Golden Gate) due to the uncertainties and injuries surrounding the matchup. The shutout was surprising, however, especially since the Sharks were missing starting quarterback Justin Mattia, among others, due to injury. Freshman Konner Barrett stepped in under center for Gulf Coast and, although he threw four interceptions, showed obvious growth and an ability to quickly forget that he threw an interception. This kid will be the real deal, real soon. Ryan Magel started the game at quarterback for Golden Gate before giving way to Joaquin Acuna — who is also the Titans’ punter — for the final three quarters. Anytime you shut a team out, your defense has a lot to do with the final score. There were a lot of turnovers caused on both sides of the ball. Turnovers did end up playing a huge part in this one. Though the turnover numbers were even, most of the Titans’ turnovers occurred deep in their own end of the field. Injuries also ended up playing a huge role in this one. Gulf Coast had a handful of guys step in for players that went down in last week’s preseason loss at Naples. But for Golden Gate, who had a handful of players going both ways, they started seeing guys go down with cramping early on in the third quarter.

PHOTO GALLERY: View images of the Titans-Sharks opener 

RELATED: See the first installment of “Cassin’s Call”

BRIGHT SPOTS: Golden Gate — The defense’s ability to create turnovers was huge. Magel, who also plays DB, had three interceptions for the Titans’ D, and fellow DB Kenson Marcelin had one as well. Gulf Coast — The Sharks’ defense put its stamp on the game. Aside from the shutout, they also caused a lot of turnovers. Led by LB Kaden Kitchener, the front seven of Gulf Coast found itself in the backfield of the Titans’ run-heavy offense quite often. Barrett showed poise and kept himself in the game mentally — even after the turnovers.

TURNING POINT: There was a lot that went into the Sharks’ win: turnovers, penalties and injuries. With Gulf Coast leading 7-0, the Titans’ defense forced and recovered a fumble inside its own 1-yard line to stop a Gulf Coast scoring opportunity. Just four plays later, though, the Titans turned the ball back over to the Sharks — this one also inside their own 1-yard line. Gulf Coast wasted no time and scored on the very next play. In a game that was seeing a defensive battle with a lot of turnovers and punts, going down two scores seemed to swing the momentum heavily in the Sharks’ favor.

NEXT WEEK: Golden Gate (0-1, 0-0 Class 6A-District 14) home against Estero (1-0, 0-0 Class 5A-District 13). Gulf Coast (1-0, 0-0 Class 7A-District 11) at Lely (1-0, 0-0 Class 6A-District 14).