The Largo Packers pulled out early preseason wins at the Palm Harbor University High School spring football jamboree on Thursday night.
The Packers knocked off the Hurricanes, 21-0, in the first game and Countryside, 21-14, in the second game. For head coach Rick Rodriguez of the Packers, it was a great way to end the spring season, while looking forward to the fall.
“We been going since February,” said Rodriguez. “These kids have been running, lifting weights and conditioning. We did a lot of special team plays tonight. Tonight, was a fun game for the guys.”
With scouts from USF, Tennessee and Virginia Tech on hand, players on all teams had to prove their worth.
PHU and Largo played the first game, which was highlighted by the offensive attack of the Packers. RB Jarvis Stewart found the endzone on the ground to score the first touchdown of the contest in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Raheem Harvey scored on a touchdown pass from quarterback Donavan Hale. Frankie Hernadez then broke through PHU’s defense to give Largo a 21-0 lead.
Largo faced Countryside in the second game.
Cordell Hudson started things out for the Packers on a 85-yard return for a touchdown to put the first points on the board. Countryside answered back with a touchdown in the second quarter. The Largo defense then put up some points when Jarvaris Sanders picked up a fumble recovery in the endzone.
After a 10-yd touchdown pass to Sylvester Kimborough from quarterback Trenton Chmelik, Countryside tied the game. Largo answered back on a fake punt play that gave them the edge for good 21-14.
For Largo's Hale, it was his first start at quarterback, replacing the talented Juwan Brown.
“I was nervous at first, but as the game went on, the butterflies went away.’” said Hale. “I am glad we played them (Countryside) in the spring so that we know what we can expect from them in the fall. “
PHU would get some retribution in the final scrimmage of the night, downing the Cougars 3-0 on a Tyler Kaminski 42-yard field goal, the Hurricanes starting quarterback.
“I didn’t know it went in until the fans started cheering. After we lost to Largo in the first game, we just came together as team and said we need to get it done.”
PHU head coach Matt LePain wanted to have some strong Pinellas County teams participate in the jamboree to give his team something to strive for during the 2013 football season.
“We did this tonight because I wanted to show my guys what it's like playing against the two top football teams in Pinellas County,” said LePain. “Having a test like this tonight against teams like Largo and Countryside was good. Tonight, they made plays and they finished.”