ST. PETERSBURG — Trailing Gibbs by eight in the third quarter, St. Petersburg was in need of a spark. Who better to give the Green Devils one than a senior back nicknamed “Speedy?”
Laroy “Speedy” Williams broke free for a 63-yard touchdown run that was the turning point in St. Petersburg’s 30-20 win over the Gladiators on Friday. Including that play, the Green Devils scored 24 unanswered points to put the game away.
“We needed something to light the fire,” St. Petersburg coach Joe Fabrizio said . “Gibbs’ defense was doing a great job of stuffing all the stuff we put in this week. We had to get a spark, and we got it. ”
In the first half, St. Petersburg was held to two field goals by Sean Covington. Meanwhile, Gibbs quarterback Patric Jones and running backs Emmanuel Stewart and Adrian Johnson were gaining chunks on the way to 121 yards each.
In the second quarter Jones hit Kendrick Battle on a 66-yard pass. Three plays later, Stewart scored from a yard out. Jones ran in the two-point conversion to make it 8-3. In the third quarter, Gibbs had 10-play drive that included a 44-yard run by Stewart and ended with Johnson scoring from a yard out.
But after St. Petersburg held Gibbs late in the third, Williams ripped off his tide-changing TD run. Maurice Hemingway tied it at 14 with his two-point conversion.
“My offensive line created a huge hole,” Williams said. “After that I was gone. I couldn’t let them catch me.”
Not with a nickname like “Speedy.”
“If they would’ve caught him we couldn’t call him Speedy anymore,” Fabrizio said. “We would have to call him 'Turtle.’ ”
After the Green Devils blocked the punt, quarterback Corey D’Angelo scored two plays later from 6 yards out to make it 21-14.
“I subbed in some young guys on the D-line and got burned on it,” Gibbs coach Antonio Knox said about Williams’ run. “I should’ve stayed with the first group, the seniors. After that it just exploded on us.”