Football: St. Petersburg 42, Boca Ciega 16
ST. PETERSBURG — After the first quarter of Monday night’s game between Boca Ciega and St. Petersburg, the Pirates ran 20 plays on offense to just four for the Green Devils. And St. Petersburg still led by 11 points.
That’s because Boca Ciega gave up two kickoff returns and could only get a field goal out of its 15-play drive. That ended up being the story of the game, as the Green Devils pulled away in the second half for a 42-16 win.
Not only did it score on two kickoff returns, but St. Petersburg also scored on a 100-yard return by Robert Dudley on a blocked field-goal attempt in the third quarter.
“That was a bad night," Boca Ciega coach Max Smith said. “I’ve got to coach better than that on special teams. We’ve got to get that fixed. That’s two games in a row now. Largo beat us up on special teams too."
The game started with a 98-yard kickoff return from Derrel Kelley. On its second possession, Boca Ciega (2-3) put together a 15-play drive that ended with a 23-yard field goal by Ryan Harris. On the ensuing kickoff, Seyvion Scott went 75 yards to make it 14-3.
Things settled down until late in the second quarter, when Osby Green hit Elgin Newton on a 9-yard pass to cut the lead to 14-10.
But St. Petersburg (4-1) capped an 11-play drive with a seven yard run from Deshawn Brown with 38 seconds left to make it 21-10.
“If we’re down 14-10 at half, our kids can do math, they know we’re still in it,’’ Smith said. “But to give up a touchdown late, now we’re down 21-10 and it makes it harder.’’
It didn’t help when Dudley returned a 32-yard field goal attempt late in the third quarter to increase the lead to 28-10.
“Special teams were phenomenal tonight," Fabrizio said. “We took the wind out of them right away with the opening kickoff. The we did it again."
The lead bulged to 35-10 early in the fourth on a 16-yard run by Aleem Coley. Green scored Boca Ciega’s final points on a 1-yard run. St. Petersburg quarterback Tonio Shavers scored from five yards with under two minutes left to end the scoring.
Six players scored touchdowns for St. Petersburg. The Green Devils played without starters Anthony Johnson and Jalynn Williams. Johnson, an Iowa State commit, will have an MRI on his knee Tuesday and could play in two weeks. Williams, a Florida commit, has missed three games with a high ankle sprain. Fabrizio said he hopes to have him back by the next game on Oct. 13 against Countryside.
The Green Devils are off on Friday, while Boca Ciega will play its third game in eight days against Gibbs.