Pirates can’t take advantage in 19-0 loss to No. 1 Gladiators

by Staff Writer

DUNEDIN- The Pirates are very familiar with the Southwest Gladiators. 

Being division rivals since the 2017 season, Dunedin has been on the losing end each time and facing the state’s No. 1 ranked team, many predicted another blowout. 

Instead, Dunedin (2-3, 2-1) showed a lot of heart, pride despite falling to Southwest Florida 19-0 Saturday night at Dunedin Memorial Stadium. The Pirates won’t take the field again until March 9th, when they take to the road to face the Duval Raiders (1-4). 

The Gladiators (5-0, 3-0) came into the contest at the Florida Football Alliance’s top club and had trouble getting their passing game going between quarterbacks Bryan Smith and Lonnie Young. 

Penalties marred the Gladiators on both sides of the ball, which gave the Pirates ample opportunities to remain in the game. Quarterback Eric Vitale and running back Nate Munson found it tough sledding throughout, as the Gladiators’ defense stiffened whenever the Pirates entered the redzone. 

Only down 9-0 heading into the fourth quarter, the Pirates were inside of the Gladiators’ 10-yard line when a costly interception costed Dunedin potentially its best scoring opportunity of the night. 

Southwest eventually scored a touchdown and tacked on a field late to end any upset attempt Dunedin had in the works.