ST. PETERSBURG — De’Angelo Reeves spent all of homecoming week waiting for his first carry against District 8A-7 rival Palm Harbor University. The St. Petersburg senior envisioned running right through the Hurricanes defense and into the end zone.
And that was exactly what he did.
Reeves scored on a 48-yard run to start the game and the Green Devils defense stymied the PHU offense in a 28-6 win Friday night. The win gives St. Petersburg (4-1, 1-0) an edge in a four-team district with games against Sarasota Riverview and nationally ranked Manatee awaiting.
“I wanted to score on the first play,” Reeves said. “They are not a better team than us. We are way better and I wanted show that.”
The Green Devils rushed for 177 yards and held normally potent PHU quarterback Tyler Kaminski to 7-of-26 passing for 85 yards.
St. Petersburg’s Lionel Hart opened the game with a 32-yard kickoff return that put the ball on the PHU 48. Then Reeves ran nearly untouched up the middle to make it 7-0. On their next possession, the Green Devils drove into field-goal position, but Parker Bryant missed a 42-yarder.
St. Petersburg surprised PHU (3-2, 0-1) on its next drive when quarterback Rob Tribolet hit Hart on a 21-yard touchdown pass that made it 14-0 late in the first quarter.
“One thing I can’t replicate in practice is the speed these guys have,” PHU coach Matt LePain said. “I don’t have guys who are as fast as those cats are. So it took us a while to settle down.”
After that, PHU put together its only scoring drive. It was a 17-play drive that was kept alive when the Green Devils were called for an offsides penalty when PHU was attempting a 31-yard field goal. On third and goal from the 6, Kaminski hit Arkez Cason on a swing pass to make it 14-6. The extra point was no good.
Both teams got nothing going offensively early in the second half. St. Petersburg started with a fumble and two missed field goals. PHU had three straight punts and a lost fumble.
With just more than three minutes left, the Green Devils could finally breathe easy. Reeves scored his second on a 6-yard run to put the game out of reach.
And after Kaminski was called for intentional grounding from his 2-yard line, St. Petersburg’s Jaquel Waller scored from a yard with 44 seconds left to finish the scoring.
“We were very prepared,” St. Petersburg linebacker Riley Barr said. “We knew what they were going to do and we were able to stop them. The defense really stepped it up.”
LePain said he was hoping for more consistency.
“We’ve had games where the defense stepped it up and games where the offense won it for us,” he said. “We haven’t put together that complete game yet.”