SEMINOLE — Football has become known as a passing game, with deep throws the most entertaining piece of play. Fundamentals like blocking and tackling are still preached. Special teams are gaining more attention. Creating success in the takeaway/giveaway differential is as important as ever.
Pinellas Park, however, believes the essence of the sport remains in the running game.
Can’t run? Can’t win.
Friday, the Patriots ran wild, racking up a season-high 467 yards on the ground in a convincing 35-10 win over Seminole.
“We ain’t afraid to grind,” Pinellas Park coach Kenny Crawford said. “We have nine guys who we have a lot of confidence in carrying the ball, and we just look to give it to whoever has the hot hand.”
The Warhawks (1-3, 0-1) can run the ball, too. They used their ground game, led by Ra’Quanne Dickens, to go ahead 3-0 on a 42-yard field goal from Marshall Legard.
Pinellas Park (3-0, 1-0) answered with an 89-yard touchdown run by Pierre Johnson to take a 7-3 lead.
On its next possession, Seminole showed some balance as Aaron Dever completed 3 of 4 passes for 59 yards on a drive that was capped by his 3-yard run to put the Warhawks back on top.
It didn’t take long for the Patriots to rally. Kal-El Williams scored on a 20-yard run late in the second quarter to give Pinellas Park a 14-10 lead.
In the third quarter, the Patriots wore down Seminole. Donte Maxson ripped off a 66-yard run for a score and Williams added a 9-yard run to make it 28-10 in the third quarter.
Pinellas Park’s run averaged 14 yards per carry and had two backs Johnson (148 yards) and Williams (117) who each rushed more than 100 yards. The Patriots almost had another 100-yard rusher with Maxson gaining 87 on six carries in three quarters.
“We were all motivated because we were all big-headed last week and didn’t play well,” Johnson said. “This is the best we’ve played, and it’s exactly what we needed.”
In the fourth quarter, Oscee Calhoun scored on a 24-yard run to give the Patriots a 35-10 lead.
“This was a big win for us, to come out and play the way we did in a district game,” Crawford said. “Hopefully, this carries over.”