SANTA ROSA BEACH -- In a fast paced game, the South Walton High Seahawks tallied more than 500 yards in offense to send the North Bay Haven Buccaneers packing 47-20.
"Setting the tempo early and getting them on their heels," was the difference, said South Walton Coach Phil Tisa as he walked off the field.
Less than a minute into the game, the Seahawks were in the end zone with Johnathon Ortner connecting with Sage Roberts on a 9-yard pass play for six points. Austin Garofalo kicked in the point after and South Walton was on the board.
"We're trying to see how fast we can be, then play faster," Tisa said. "The fast tempo, it wears people down."
"We practice that way. That's why we're conditioned for it," he added.
Not only were the Seahawks quick on the ball, but they had several players touch the ball and put points on the board.
"We want to keep fresh legs in their, move the ball around so they don't know who to cover," Tisa said.
South Walton's Anthony Gundrum had 48 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, while Roberts had eight catches, two for touchdowns (9 and 13 yards). Vinnie Ciurleo, Harrison Schaffer and Alex Smith all had catches for touchdowns.
Junior quarterback Ortner was on target completing 26 of 33 passes for 302 yards and five TDs.
North Bay Haven moved the ball as well picking up 142 on the ground and 200 through the air on the arm of David Smith who was nine of 24.
The difference for the Bucs was turnovers.
"We had four possessions in the red zone that we could have capitalized on," said North Bay Haven Coach Jared Hale, but the Bucs turned it over.
The fast tempo of the Seahawks, "kind of hurt us," he said. "But we had a lot of guys go down and we're kind of thin anyway."
Nevertheless, Hales still saw some positives. "We had guys getting in there that stepped up. Offensively we moved the ball, just turnovers killed us and the defense has got to wrap up more."
In the first few seconds of the game, both teams fumbled the ball away, but the Seahawks capitalized with a quick score to Roberts.
On North Bay's second possession, South Walton's Zach Reese picked off a Buc pass at the 34-yard line. The Seahawks put together a 15-play drive for the score with Ortner connecting with Ciurleo for a 14-yard strike.
The Buccaneers answered with a big play of their own. Smith hit Garrison Baker on the right side and he headed down the sideline for a 52-yard scamper to the end zone. Brayden Hardesty kicked in the point after for a 14-7 game.
In less than 2 minutes the Seahawks put six more points on the board. Ortner capped off a 10-play drive with a 13-yard completion to Roberts for the TD. Garofalo was good for the PAT.
In the second quarter, South Walton was on the move again when the Bucs knocked the ball loose with Devante Garland making the recovery. The Bucs got the ball down inside the 15 but were stopped by the Seahawks on a four-and-long.
South Walton took over on the 19 and went the distance, 81 yards in five plays and 58 seconds for the score. Anthony Gundrum scored the TD on a 7-yard run. The score at the half was 28-7.
To start the third, South Walton's Gundrum put a hit on the Buc's Richardson causing a fumble which Wesley Miller recovered for the Hawks. Two plays later, South Walton scored on 2-yard pass play from Ortner to Schaffer.
Late in the third, North Bay's Tyjon Cuffee picked off a South Walton pass at the 23-yard line. Four plays later, the Bucs were in the end zone on a 52-yard strike from Smith to Brayden Hardesty.
In the fourth, South Walton scored on a 5-yard run from Gundrum and Garofalo booted in the PAT.
Each team scored once more with North Bay scoring on a 19-yard strike from Smith to Cuffee and the Seahawks on a 14-yard connection from Ortner to Alex Smith.