CLEARWATER — With its leading rusher suspended, Largo leaned on the passing game Friday to generate offense in its regular-season finale against Countryside.
Rather, one pass specifically: the fade.
Largo quarterback Donavan Hale threw five touchdown passes, all on fade patterns, and ran for a sixth in the Packers’ 42-14 thrashing of Countryside.
“We’ve got some of the tallest receivers around,” Hale said. “When the opponent has small corners, it’s a mismatch. I just have to deliver the ball.”
Hale found 6-foot-1 receiver Raheem Harvey for three of those touchdown passes. Harvey, a senior, snatched Hale’s pass off the top of a Countryside defender’s helmet on the Packers’ first drive for an early 7-0 advantage. Late in the first, Harvey leapt high to haul in a 27-yard scoring strike over another smaller cornerback.
“That’s just part of what I do,” Harvey said. “I’ve got to do my job, and that’s my job.”
After Countryside (6-4) cut Largo’s lead to 14-7 on a Dante Satcher 26-yard touchdown run in the second, Largo (8-2) responded right before the half, driving 52 yards in just more than a minute, capped by Hale’s 6-yard run with 1:23 to go before halftime.
On the opening possession of the second half, Hale (18-of-22, 224 yards) hit 6-foot-2 receiver Jonathan Crawford for a 9-yard pass to put Largo up 28-7.
Aaron Lane’s interception of Countryside quarterback Robby Hicks (17-of-24, 197 yards) on the next drive gave the Packers great field position at the Cougars’ 7. One play later, Hale lofted a ball for Harvey in the corner of the end zone for the duo’s third scoring connection of the game.
“Donavan is really coming into his own right now, and when we need it at the end of the season,” Largo coach Rick Rodriguez said. “The protection was there, and Harvey can outjump anybody.”
Hale found 6-foot-1 wideout Brandon Drayton for his final touchdown pass, an 8-yarder in the fourth quarter. With the score 42-7, the final 8:48 of the game was played with a running clock. Countryside’s Eric Patten capped the scoring with a 43-yard jaunt into the end zone.
Largo sacked Countryside quarterbacks six times, forced a fumble, picked off a pass and had a turnover on downs. Packers backup running back John Clark broke the 100-yard plateau with 113 yards on 18 carries.