VERO BEACH – The Vero Beach Fighting Indians put on their own version of Monday Night Football in their district matchup with Fort Pierce Central.
In a game rescheduled from Friday due to Hurricane Ian’s landfall, quarterback Tyler Aronson tossed five touchdown passes — four to wide receiver Vspanndrevius Jspancobs — as Vero Beach cruised past the visiting Cobras, winning 47-7 Monday night at Billy Livings Field at the Citrus Bowl.
The first half was an electrifying one for the Indians (6-0, 1-0 4S-District 12), who saw Aronson team up with Jacobs for three of their four scores.
Jacobs, who is committed to play at Florida State, took a pass out to the right, got a great block from a fellow receiver and raced 26 yards to open the scoring.
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After Brock Thomas hauled in a 15-yard pass for a 14-0 lead, Jacobs ran a drag route over the middle and sped away through the Cobras’ defensive backfield with the aid of another key block.
The pair’s final tally of the half – which put it at 26-0 – happened in the closing seconds when Aronson heaved a long ball down the middle. Jacobs made the catch and outran the secondary on an 89-yard score.
“Coach noticed I had man coverage,” said Jacobs of the drag route. “I beat him on the drag, and my receivers blocked great.”
Jacobs said he wasn’t surprised that his coaching staff gambled on the last TD that almost went the length of the field.
“The way they had their defense set up, they really run like three safeties,” Jacobs said. “Behind that middle safety is a patch of grass where we were trying to exploit them the whole game.”
His final grab – a 10-yard score on the fourth quarter’s second play – ended the speedy wideout’s showing with seven receptions for 182 yards.
The teams traded back-to-back kickoff returns for TDs in the fourth quarter — Central’s Jemar Paul went 91 yards, then EJ White went 87 for the Indians. Vero’s Antwan Frederick brought back an interception 43 yards for the final margin.
“They run a unique defense that we saw on film and tried to prepare for,” Indians coach Lenny Jankowski said. “But I thought we were sloppy and impatient at times on offense. Credit to them. We had some protection busts that kept us behind the chains. But we had some explosive plays – Dre and Tyler had some big nights.”
Aronson went 16-of-23 for 285 yards with five scores and an interception.
J’Shaun Hendrix set up Thomas’ TD with a fumble recovery, and Kamani Messam also recovered one. Derrick Williams blocked and recovered a punt.
The Cobras (1-5, 0-2) saw quarterback Railly Rodriguez go 22-of-40 for 154 yards with the pick-six. Jamarion Davis recorded an interception and returned it 34 yards.
“Offensively, we literally just cannot get out of our own way,” Central coach Mike Watkins said. “We just rotate someone doing something disastrous on the drive to shut the drive down. And it’s not one position. It’s all positions. That’s kind of the growing pains you get when you have one returning starter.”