LARGO — Jarvis Stewart rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown while Donavan Hale threw two touchdowns to lead Largo 35-7 past Osceola in a Class 6A, District 7 contest Friday night.
Hale connected with Reggie Campbell for a 27-yard score and followed with a 29-yard strike to Raheem Harvey to give the Packers a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
From there it was a combination of Stewart's legs and a strong defensive effort led by senior Frankie Hernandez that kept the Warriors off balance and out of synch for much of the evening.
Largo (5-1, 1-0), recorded safeties in the second and third quarters, and Hernandez finished with double-digit tackles.
"My coach said I had 22 tackles but really it was the whole defense that showed out tonight," Hernandez said. "We knew they were going to come right at us and we were ready."
Coach Rick Rodriguez gave credit to the scout team that emulated Osceola's wing-T all week.
"Coach (Jeremy) Frioud and our defensive coaches deserve a ton of credit and the scout team really gave us good work this week," Rodriguez said.
Osceola (3-3, 0-1) came out of the gate strong as Quadarius Patterson completed a halfback option pass to Nicholas Coca for a 34-yard gain that set up a 4-yard touchdown run from Jamie Craske to tie the score at 7. Field position, however, and negative plays kept the Warriors from executing the rushing attack that coach George Palmer knew would be needed to knock off Largo.
"We just could never seem to get in a rhythm on offense and that has a lot to do with them," Palmer said. "Largo is probably the best defensive team in the county and we knew we would need to play a perfect game to beat them."
With Hale and the passing game clicking early, it gave way to Stewart and the rushing attack in the second half. Stewart's 28-yard run set up a 10-yard touchdown from Jonathan Crawford to give Largo a 26-7 lead. On the Packers' next offensive series Stewart scored from 35 yards out.
Largo heads into a bye week and will have two weeks to prepare for a district showdown with Venice.
"We're pretty healthy right now and everything is starting to come together," Rodriguez added. "This is where we wanted to be going into these big district games."