TARPON SPRINGS — Following Largo's 40-10 dismantling of East Lake, Largo head coach Rick Rodriguez stood in the end zone, a rolled-up sheet up heavy-stock paper in his fist.
At the top of the page, Rodriguez had scribbled out his pregame message to his team: this game is about who runs Pinellas County football.
The Packers had the answer Rodriguez was looking for.
And it was an emphatic one.
Running behind an undersized offensive line with an average weight of only about 200 pounds, Jarvis Stewart carved up the East Lake defense for 241 yards rushing. Largo quarterback Juwan Brown threw three touchdown passes, and sophomore Reggie Campbell returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score in a thoroughly dominating performance for undefeated Largo (5-0).
"We've got a lot of athletes that can make plays," Rodriguez said. "Keep them healthy, keep them right, good things will happen to us."
Stewart fumbled on the second play of the game after ripping off a 36-yard run but didn't let that early setback affect the rest of his night. He carried 11 times in the first quarter, gaining 104 yards, to set the physical tone early for the Packers.
"We just knew not to come out soft," Stewart said. We came out hard and played Largo football like we usually do and got us a win."
Brown (8-for-12, 205 yards) started Largo's scoring onslaught with a 10-yard run on an option keeper in the first quarter. After a 30-yard Tanner Harwood field goal cut the Packers' lead to 6-3, Campbell returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards, weaving his way through traffic along the Largo sideline to reach pay dirt and open up a 10-point Packers' lead.
Brown threw a 15-yard fade pass to Raheem Harvey for the first of his three touchdown passes on the first play of the second quarter. East Lake cut the Largo lead to 19-10 after Pete DiNovo (16-for-32, 174 yards) threaded a 25-yard touchdown pass to Chris Depaolo with 8:47 left in the first half, but Largo answered in two plays after Brown connected with Campbell in stride on a 65-yard streak down the sideline for a 26-10 Largo lead that they would take into halftime.
From there, the Packers grinded the Eagles (3-2) into submission. East Lake managed only 47 yards of offense in the third quarter, and Brown's seven-yard touchdown pass to Harvey at the end of the quarter effectively sealed the game.