FOOTBALL: Largo stands tall over PHU, C-Side
PALM HARBOR - Largo and its core of high-level talent stole the show Thursday night at Palm Harbor University. The Packers won both of their shortened spring jamboree games against PHU and Countryside, finding the end zone six times and doing so in multiple fashions. Thursday's 3 1/2-hour, three-team event started with Largo racing past the host Hurricanes, 21-0, and then holding off Countryside, 21-14. Largo star running back Jarvis Stewart lived up to his billing as a top prospect, scoring the game's first touchdown on a 1-yard run and shining throughout. The Packers followed Stewart's lead by displaying their potency. Of their six total touchdowns, two were scored on the ground, one came through the air, one was a Cordell Hudson kickoff return, one was on Javaris Sanders' interception in the end zone and the final came on a fake punt. Stewart added a punt return TD against PHU but had it called back because of a block in the back. After commending Largo on its play, PHU coach Matt LePain said hesitancy appeared to undermine the 'Canes initial effort in comparison to the 3-0 Countryside win. "We got used to [Largo's] speed and then we came out here and we decided to start playing again [against Countryside]," LePain said. "We had those things against Largo, but we were just afraid to make mistakes and afraid to make plays. They switched it in this game and went out and played football." PHU ended the night by squeaking past Countryside, 3-0, on a late 42-yard field from kicker-quarterback Tyler Kaminski. After going toe to toe with Largo, the Cougars offense struggled against PHU's defensive front, led by linebackers John Tauber and Stephen Charron. C-Side twice came back from seven-point deficits to tie up Largo during the night's second game. Michael Johnson, one of the Cougars' most highly regarded players, challenged Stewart as the night's top performer. The do-it-all senior returned a punt for about 40 yards that set up his 2-yard touchdown run and also added an athletic, leaping interception just minutes later. Countryside's second touchdown, which tied the game 14-14 with less than 50 seconds remaining, came when backup quarterback Trent Chmelik hit Sylvester Kimborough in the end zone on a fade route to the left corner. The Cougars' celebration proved to be short-lived, though. Largo went back on top with only 14.2 seconds left when quarterback-punter Donavan Hale hit Raheem Harvey on a fake-punt pass for the game-winning touchdown.