LARGO — Largo defenders went to bed Friday night, I imagine, with visions of Jefferson quarterback Deiondre Porter dancing in their heads.
The Packers contained him in the first two quarters, kept him from making his usual big plays, and shut down his big-play wide receivers.
But after halftime, not so much.
The Jefferson quarterback slipped through tackles, ran through holes and broke the backs of the Packers.
He scored three of his four touchdowns in the final two quarters, including one on a fourth-and-3 play that capped a 95-yard drive and gave Jefferson its first lead early in the final period.
The Dragons would not relinquish it.
“We couldn’t stop him,” said Largo coach Rick Rodriguez.
Porter had never rushed — or needed to rush — more than 21 times in a game until Friday, when he finished with 32 for 203 yards.
And it was the first time he had ever scored four rushing touchdowns.
After Largo opened the second half by recovering an onside kick and scoring on a deep pass to Raheem Harvey to open up a 17-6 lead, Porter got busy.
“I looked at him and said, ‘You ready to be the man?’ ” said Jefferson coach Jeremy Earle. “He said, Coach, give me the ball. When you have that kind of guy, you gotta give it to him.”
1. The Jefferson defense was outstanding in the second half. After Donavan Hale connected on the pass to Harvey to make it 17-6, it forced Largo into five straight punts. The line got after Hale, and the defensive backs, led by Chavez Pownell, backed them up with nice coverage. Hale completed only 10 of his 35 passes.
“We couldn’t get a first down,” Rodriguez said.
2. The Jefferson offensive line — Gino Harrington, Zack Buchanan, Kenny Nelson, Josh Marrero and T.J. Williams — made sure the inside trap popped a few times in the second half and cleared the way for Porter. “They made holes for me, and I ran through them,” Porter said.
3. Largo’s plan was to play zone on the half of the field where there were three wide receivers, and leave Cordell Hudson on an island with whoever lined up on the other side. No help. Just Hudson. They called it Delly Island at practice, and after a few long pass attempts his way, he didn’t see much action. He might even be a big part of the reason the Dragons went to the run game in the second half. It may have rained Friday night, but it was sunny on Delly Island.
The Packer stands were only about half full Friday, and that’s pretty pathetic. The county’s most consistent program, a perennial playoff team, and it appears the fans decided to bail on them.
Was it the threat of rain? The fact the game was on TV? Or did they figure the Packers couldn’t win after the suspension and arrest of their two best players?
All three reasons, by the way, are poor excuses to miss a playoff game involving such a successful program.
47 — total touchdowns Porter has had a hand in this season, with 28 passing and 19 rushing, and he’s now over 4,000 combined yards from scrimmage as well.
3 hours, 15 minutes — the time it took to play Friday’s game, which is one of the longer non-overtime, non-catastrophic injury games I’ve ever seen.
5 — straight playoff losses for Largo, which is now 1-5 since going to back-to-back state semifinals in 2007 and ’08.