ST. PETERSBURG — As the first quarter wore on Friday and St. Petersburg Catholic continued to make mistakes, coach Steve Dudley kept his patience. The Barons threw an interception and failed to convert on two fourth-and-short situations to start their Class 3A-5 game against Admiral Farragut, but Dudley figured it was a matter of time before his team settled down.
His patience was rewarded in the final three quarters as SPC ran away from the Blue Jackets 35-10. The Barons outrushed AFA 280-102 and did not allow a second-half point.
"We were really amped for this game and it took us a couple of possessions to get settled down," Dudley said. "And then in the second half we were really confident about what we could do on offense, and that kept our defense off the field. That's something we didn't do last week."
The Barons (3-1, 1-0) bounced back from last week's loss to Melbourne Central Catholic thanks to the trio of Jacquan Fuller, Tony Jones and Stephon Williams. Fuller led all rushers with 96 yards and a touchdown. Jones added 85 yards and two touchdowns and Williams had 49 yards and a TD.
The Blue Jackets (1-2, 0-1) scored first early in the second quarter on a 46-yard field goal by Sean Young. SPC put together a nine-play scoring drive on its next possession that ended with a 4-yard sweep by Fuller.
AFA's Cortavious Givens, who finished with 88 yards, took over on the next drive and scored from 35 yards for a 10-7 lead.
Just before halftime, Jones scored his first touchdown with a 6-yard run that capped a seven-play drive. Then SPC took over in the second half.
Stephon Williams ended a 10-play drive with a 1-yard run to make it 21-10. Then Leo Corrigan blocked a punt to give the Barons the ball at the 26. Three plays later, Jones was in the end zone again after a 19-yard run.
SPC's final score came early in the fourth when Jack Sheehan hit Adrian Snead on a 31-yard pass, the first passing touchdown for the Barons this season.
SPC had 48 rushing attempts and just six pass attempts.
"Our run game is our bread and butter," Dudley said. "We're going to gain yards and chew up the clock and keep our defense on the sidelines."
Williams said it doesn't matter which back gets the touchdown.
"It's all about trusting each other and getting the job done," Williams said. "Our line blocked well all night and we were able to get some big runs. There's no competition. We're brothers out there."
Blue Jackets coach Ryan Hearn said dealing with SPC's run game is no easy task.
"They have a very good 1-2-3 punch," Hearn said. "That's a lot to deal with. But we also made some mistakes that are going to happen with a young team like this."