Cotey column: Chronicle of a county collapse



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Sat. November 20, 2010 | John C. Cotey | Email

ST. PETERSBURG — Walking the sideline on a perfect night for football at Stewart Field and relying on a cell phone for scoring updates, this is pretty much how the night, which wasn’t so good for Pinellas County, went.

• • •

St. Petersburg scored on its third play from scrimmage, on of all things, a pass.

“I’m doing great,” coach Joe Fabrizio quipped when asked how it was going after Calvin Robinson’s touchdown. “But ask me again in five minutes.”

Lakewood was up 13-0  on Pasco. This seemed highly unlikely, but maybe the Spartans finally — finally! — had put it together.

Still. Unlikely.

• • •

Countryside was losing 16-7. First thought: this might be Gray Crow’s night to burst onto the scene with a big comeback victory, right?


Terry Johnson ran for a touchdown, and a field goal put the Cougars in front at halftime.

Rematch with East Lake?

The Eagles led 7-0, and against a team that hasn’t been a force running the ball so much and doesn’t like to throw it, that was a good sign. Then Tampa Bay Tech threw a touchdown pass. For 80 yards. And another for 19.

• • •

It took St. Petersburg and Venice four minutes to play the first half. Or maybe it just felt that way.

Remember last year, when  Tarpon Springs went 10-3?

The Spongers were down 34-0 at the half against Gainesville. They were going to finish 4-7.

Largo trailed Hillsborough, but only by a touchdown. The Packers, they’ll be all right. Right?

• • •

Venice decided to run over St. Petersburg in the second half. Opening drive: field goal, thanks to a goal-line stand by the Green Devils. Some kid named Joey Carlin made the kick, just his second one all season and first since the opening week of the season.

Remember that kid’s name. Unless you’re a St. Petersburg fan, player, parent, coach.

Then just forget it.

Oh. And stop reading now.

• • •

Admiral Farragut in a blowout.

Lakewood winning 20-0.

Countryside pulling away from Brandon. Not a surprise.

Speaking of Lakewood, its lead has just shrunk to 20-7.

• • •

St. Petersburg is leading 10-3 after having to settle for a field goal after having first and goal.

That could be bad, I tell myself.

Northeast is losing to Bradenton Manatee, but respectably, considering Manatee is No. 2 in the country.

Largo, well, losing QB Juwan Brown probably torpedoed any playoff hopes they had.

Lakewood’s lead: 20-14.

• • •

Venice powers over St. Petersburg to tie the score in the final minutes. The Green Devils need one good drive — they haven’t had one all game — to get into field goal position.

Down goes East Lake. Down goes Largo. Down goes Northeast.

Down goes my career picking high school football games. .

• • •

Venice converts a fourth down with under a minute remaining.

Lakewood looks headed to overtime, until Pasco scores. Now it  just looks dead.

St. Petersburg holds Venice to a field goal attempt.

Carlin walks out again.

“You’re just standing there hoping some 17-year-old kid misses a field goal,” Fabrizio said, summing up that last second before Carlin puts foot to ball.

It’s good.

The Green Devils collapse and throw helmets and tears flow freely. It actually kind of hurts to watch.

That is pretty much how the night, which wasn’t so good for Pinellas County, went.


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