ST. PETERSBURG — In Friday night’s preseason game between city rivals St. Petersburg and Northeast, the Green Devils wanted to establish their potent running game while the Vikings wanted to establish any kind of offense. Northeast is just weeks removed from having several key offensive players transfer and St. Petersburg has at least four running backs capable of gaining big yards.
The first two minutes showed the difference between the teams.
On the first play from scrimmage, Vikings quarterback Charlie Krasuski fumbled. Two plays later St. Petersburg scored on a 6-yard DeAngelo Reeves run 18 seconds into the game. And after a Vikings punt on their next possession, DeMarkus Glover capped a five-play drive with a 3-yard run.
From there, St. Petersburg went on to defeat Northeast 27-13. The varsity played three quarters and the junior varsity played the fourth quarter.
“Not bad except for the first two minutes,” Northeast coach Mike Jalazo said.
St. Petersburg gained 205 yards rushing in the three varsity quarters. Reeves led all rushers with 132 yards and a touchdown. Northeast was held to 56 yards rushing and 19 passing.
The Green Devils scored again late in the first quarter on a 53-yard run by Reeves that made it 20-0. For most of the second quarter, St. Petersburg used its second-team offense. That was when the Vikings found the end zone.
Second-string quarterback Jarrett O’Connell had his pass picked off late in the second quarter by Devon Neath, who returned it 50 yards to make it 20-6. The extra point failed.
After that pass, St. Petersburg did not throw the rest of the night.
“Our main thing was to get that first unit together and run the ball a little bit,” St. Petersburg coach Joe Fabrizio said. “We did that at the start of the second half. We did want to pass the ball a little bit more but we didn’t put ourselves in position to do that as much as we wanted.”
The Green Devils pounded out a seven-play, 65-yard drive to start the third quarter. Maurice Hemingway ended the drive with a 1-yard plunge. From there, St. Petersburg used its second team and played conservatively.
Near the end of the third quarter, the Vikings had their lone offensive highlight. Devin Bowers scored on a 43-yard run around the left side to make it 27-13. Bowers led Northeast with 70 yards.
St. Petersburg appears to be taking plenty of momentum into its season opener next week at Gibbs.
“We’ve got a lot of players who can run,” Reeves said. “We’ve got speed, power, any kind of back you want.”