Largo was down by two touchdowns in the final four minutes before rallying to beat Venice 22-21 Friday. Here are some moments that contributed to the Packers’ improbable victory.
1. Big breaks: In the first half, Venice had all the momentum. But the Indians blew their chance to put the game away with two missed field goals and two turnovers inside Largo’s 25-yard line. Instead of being ahead by more than two scores, Venice led just 7-0 at the half.
2. Defense: The Packers did a good job of containing Indians running back Terry Polk, who ranked fourth in the state in rushing yards entering the game. Polk gained 150 yards, 94 of which came in the first half. Take away a 60-yard run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and Polk had minus-4 yards rushing in the second half. On Venice’s final two drives, it gained 1 yard.
3. Clock management: Down by a touchdown, the Packers were out of timeouts when they turned the ball over on downs at Venice’s 11-yard line with 3:11 remaining. On the Indians’ final drive, they were called for a delay of game and called a timeout, stopping the clock twice. But the play of the game happened on third down when Polk took a pitch on a sweep and was driven out of bounds by Jarvis Stewart and a host of others. Had Polk stayed inbounds, Largo would not have had enough time to complete the Hail Mary at the end.
4. Big completion: On Largo’s final drive, quarterback Donavan Hale completed a 16-yard pass to Jonathan Crawford that moved the ball to Venice’s 31-yard line. Despite a false start on the following play, that completion gave Hale enough wiggle room to launch his desperation pass.
5. The penalty: In the chaos after Largo’s last-minute touchdown, the Indians were called for encroachment in an attempt to block the extra point. The penalty moved the ball to the 1 ½-yard line. The short distance was what motivated Packers coach Rick Rodriguez to go for the two-point conversion and the win.