PINELLAS PARK — Palm Harbor University’s Quentin Cumings knew he was in for a long Friday night in the regular-season finale against Pinellas Park. The Hurricanes were without their top two running backs, Jonah Fiskaa and Demetri Royer, due to concussions.
That meant Cumings would play running back and receiver on offense as well as linebacker on defense. Cumings came through in a pinch. He rushed 12 times for 69 yards and scored PHU’s final touchdown with two minutes left to help the Hurricanes to a 28-20 win over the Patriots.
Including the forfeit win over Countryside, PHU finishes the regular season 8-2, tied for the best record in school history.
“I went to running back when we were in the tight end set and then when we went spread I had to go to my normal wide receiver spot,” Cumings said. “I never got a break.”
Cumings wasn’t the only offensive hero for PHU. Quarterback Tyler Kaminski threw two touchdown passes and also ran for another score. In fact, Cumings almost wasn’t a hero at all.
With the Hurricanes leading 21-12 midway through the fourth quarter, Cumings fumbled at the PHU 18-yard line. Pinellas Park recovered and after a 3-yard loss on its first play, Jaquan Clark scored from 21 yards to make it 21-18. Pierre Johnson then ran in the two point conversion to cut the lead to one.
On the ensuing kickoff, Dominic Bonelli fumbled the return and the Patriots took over at the PHU 45. But Pinellas Park went backward on three plays and botched a punt that gave the Hurricanes the ball at the Patriots’ 47-yard line.
Seven plays later, Cumings ran in from 21 yards to make up for the earlier fumble.
“That was huge,” Cumings said. “I wanted to make up for it badly.”
Pinellas Park did not roll over. On their final drive, the Patriots converted a fourth-and-17 pass from Taron Williams to Tyree Graves to put the ball at the PHU 45. Williams then hit Josh Dallas on a 31-yard pass that put the ball at the PHU 6-yard line with 16 seconds left.
On the final play of the game with three seconds left, Williams tried to hit Graves in the corner of the end zone but the pass was batted down by Kyle Olsen.
“It was like that the last time we played them,” Palm Harbour University coach Matt LePain said. “It was 14-13 last year. They had the ball ready to score. Exact same thing this year.”
Williams threw for 167 yards for the Patriots. Clark had 86 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
LePain said he was confident Fiskaa and Royer would return for Friday’s playoff game at Vero Beach.
Pinellas Park (6-4) will play Venice on Friday.