ST. PETERSBURG — Ryan Davis is only a sophomore, but Northeast’s first-year quarterback played like a veteran against Boca Ciega on Friday.
Davis connected with fellow sophomore Tyrell Hubbard-Smith on a 58-yard touchdown catch-and-run late to break a 6-6 tie. Then Davis secured the victory with a 14-yard run on third and 9 deep in his territory to allow the Vikings to run out the clock and post a 12-6 win over the Pirates.
“He’s been making big plays all year,” Northeast coach Mike Jalazo said.
Northeast is 3-0 for the first time since 2007.
Davis was 12-of-25 for 250 yards. His most important completion came with 4:49 to go. Facing third and 3 from his 42, Davis found Hubbard-Smith on a quick-hitter over the middle. Hubbard-Smith absorbed a hit as he hauled in the pass, bounced off a tackler and outraced the secondary to the end zone.
“(Hubbard-Smith) had two false starts on an earlier drive,” Jalazo said. “I went up to him at halftime and said, 'You’ve got to recover. You’re going to get your chance.’
“He sure did. He’s a heck of a player.”
Northeast led 6-0 for much of the game. Davis hit Keith Harrington (five catches, 158 yards) for a 74-yard touchdown late in the first quarter for the game’s first points. (The extra point was blocked.)
The Vikings’ advantage held up until early in the fourth quarter, when Boca Ciega’s Fortune Gamble capped an 11-play, 80-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run up the middle. The extra point was blocked to leave the score tied.
Trailing 12-6, Boca Ciega went backward on its final drive of the game and punted with 2:16 remaining. The Pirates tried to get the ball back. But Davis’ run on a third-down quarterback draw, in which he was nearly tackled for a loss before spinning away and gaining 14 yards, sealed the win.
“We needed a clutch play, and I just tried to make it happen.” Davis said.
Northeast held Boca Ciega (0-2) to 63 rushing yards and outgained it 363-166 overall.
“This feels great,” Davis said. “We just have to keep working hard to get ready for this district game next week (against St. Petersburg).”