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LARGO — With quarterback Juwan Brown out until at least the first week of the playoffs, Largo knew it had to find new ways to move the football.
So the Packers decided to utilize its surplus of running backs by implementing the single-wing, an offense that has roots a century deep.
Relying on slick backfield ball-handling and precise pulling and blocking on the offensive line, the new offense helped Largo run Boca Ciega ragged Friday in a 28-26 victory that secured the Class 4A, District 10 title for the Packers.
“We knew we needed to try something different on offense, especially with a big game like this and the district title on the line,” Largo coach Rick Rodriguez said.
During the bye week, Rodriguez had assistants Ryan Taylor, Matt Lepain and Andrew Huerta travel to Apopka High to take a crash course in the single-wing offense. Apopka used the offense to win a state title in 2001.
In the single-wing, a running back receives shotgun snaps and often takes off with the ball. Another running back lines up next to him, and sometimes gets the ball. There are many play fakes and many ballcarriers, but few passes.
“We were able to go to Apopka and pick their brain,” said Taylor, the offensive coordinator who had just seven practices to install the offense. “It helped because it’s a good offense for what we have.”
On Friday, it played a big role in helping the Packers rally .
In the first half, the Pirates (2-5, 1-2) led 20-6, thanks two quick second-quarter scores, the first a 21-yard touchdown pass from Shaquille Bradford to Kendrick Boyd and the second a 17-yard fumble return by Bivonte Henry.
But Largo (6-1, 3-0) got a huge boost in the final two minutes of the half by going 80 yards on six running plays, the last coming on a 32-yard touchdown run by Derrick Doss. Harry Brown ran in the two-point conversion to make it 20-14.
The Packers stuck to the running game in the second half and eventually wore down the Pirates. Freshman running back Jarvis Stewart took the majority of the direct snaps and rushed for 146 yards on 27 carries.
But the big benefactor in the single-wing was Doss, who finished with 206 yards on eight carries and scored four times, including two touchdowns in the second half.
His third score came on 49-yard run in the third quarter that gave Largo its first lead at 21-20. In the fourth quarter, the Packers went ahead 28-20 on a 66-yard touchdown run by Doss.
Boca Ciega answered as Denzal Dillard scored on a 3-yard run. But the Pirates failed to convert a two-point conversion. Largo’s defense preserved the win with relentless pressure on Bradford. The Packers finished with 10 sacks, five by Adarius Rayner.