Seminoles' QB accounts for up 5 TDs in 47-12 victory

BRADENTON

The last time Maleek Huggins scored five touchdowns in a single game was more than five years ago, during his days of Pop Warner youth football.

But Huggins came of age on Friday night, throwing for two scores and rushing for three more to lead Southeast High to a 47-12 rout of Fort Myers Evangelical Christian at Paul Maechtle Field.

Huggins took a quarterback keeper 91 yards for a touchdown midway through the opening quarter for his first touchdown of the night, dashing down the right sideline untouched and showcasing his speed to put the host ‘Noles up 7-0 over the visiting Sentinels.

Huggins, in his second year as the ‘Noles starter, finished the game with a five touchdowns, breaking his previous career high of four scores from just one week ago in Southeast’s regular-season opener against Booker High, a 34-14 win.

“I tried to tell the coaches to let me run the ball first and let me get in my groove, and I just happened to break it,” Huggins said. “(Tonight) it was just about getting the ball in the air, getting a lot of runs in, and our line was blocking great. Everything was working for us on offense.”

Huggins accounted for three of Southeast’s four touchdowns in the first half, including a four-yard strike in the back of the end zone to E’rion Neri, as the ‘Noles built a 26-0 lead before the halftime break. The junior rolled up 294 all-purpose yards on the night, single-handedly outproducing the Sentinels’ offense.

“Experience has been the biggest thing for us this season and me growing as a quarterback,” Huggins said. “I’m learning when to pick up blitzes and how to better read coverages. My percentages have been improving, and cleaner balls are being thrown.”

Calvin Clark added a team-high four catches for 24 yards for Southeast while Neri chipped in with three grabs for 32 yards. Tywarren Davis had a team-high 65 receiving yards, including a 27-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter which gave the ‘Noles a 33-6 lead.

Huggins finished with 149 passing yards to go along with five carries for 145 rushing yards, both team-high marks. The 5-foot-10, 155-pound quarterback completed 10 of 20 passes overall, including six consecutive completions in the first half.

Huggins added a 30-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, his fifth touchdown of the night, to put the game out of reach with more than seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.

For Southeast, a 2-0 start this season is a sign of big things to come for Brett Timmons’ program, which finished 4-7 last season.

“We all want to be perfect, but I feel like I can improve on my passer rating and just want to continue my role of being a leader and being a guy the coaches want me to be on the field.” Huggins said. “I feel like we can go to state and win it all this year.”

The ‘Noles' defense stifled the Sentinels throughout the game.

Southeast’s Alex Petitfere picked off a pass thrown by Evangelical Christian’s Reynaldo Rosales and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter and nearly had another interception near the goal line in the third quarter.

Southeast visits Bayshore in a non-district contest next week.