PINELLAS PARK — As Pinellas Park danced in the end zone after Thursday’s come-from-behind 21-18 victory over St. Petersburg, senior quarterback Brandon Hames stood back from the crowd, a look of bewilderment and amusement, at once, on his face.
Moments earlier, Hames led the Patriots on what, in retrospect, could end up being their most important drive of the season. He marched them 58 yards in less than four minutes, hitting Jeremi Powell in the end zone on a 14-yard slant route with 24 seconds to go.
“I can’t believe it,” Hames said. “I can’t believe we came back, and my team helped me come back. I just can’t believe it.”
With 9:43 left in the second quarter, the Green Devils led 15-0 after scoring on their first three possessions. Sean Covington made a 30-yard field goal. David Jones took a pitch and cut back for a 40-yard touchdown. And after his 32-yard punt return Jones, lining up under center, sneaked in from a yard out.
Hames took the Patriots 80 yards in 10 plays on their next drive capped by his 11-yard touchdown run.
Right before halftime, Powell took a pitch right and ran for a 10-yard touchdown. St. Petersburg still led 15-14 after a failed two-point conversion.
The Green Devils led 18-14 when Hames and Pinellas Park took over at their 42. Pinellas Park reached the St. Petersburg 29 in four plays. Facing fourth and 5, Hames kept the drive alive with a 20-yard completion to Powell to the 14.
Two plays later, Hames went back to Powell for the winning touchdown.
“Do or die,” Hames said. “We’re a do or die team, and we took it home.”