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Largo 41, Boca Ciega 18

GULFPORT — Largo coach Rick Rodriguez didn't need to say a word to his players after a lackluster first half left the Packers trailing Boca Ciega 12-10.

The look of utter disgust on his face spoke volumes.

The Packers, perhaps spurred on by Rodriguez's scowl, scored 21 in the third quarter and thoroughly dominated the Pirates after halftime to record a 41-18 victory and wrap up their fifth straight district title and sixth in the past nine seasons.

"We just knew he was mad," Largo cornerback Jamarious Boatwright said. "He gave us that look."

Boatwright made the biggest play for the Packers (6-1, 3-0) and, in the process, crushed any hopes of a Pirates upset.

The Packers scored touchdowns on two straight drives to open the second half and took a 24-12 lead, but the Pirates (2-5, 1-2) advanced to the Largo 15. On third and 5, Boatwright jumped on an out pattern and weaved his way through traffic for a 90-yard interception return touchdown that sealed the Pirates' fate.

"Any time you have a 14-point swing, that's big," Rodriguez said. "Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games."

Two fumbles early in the game kept Largo's offense on the sideline, and Boca Ciega grabbed momentum when quarterback Shaquille Bradford rolled to his right and hit Jovontae Johnson in the flat on fourth and 3 for a 13-yard touchdown pass to open the second quarter.

After the Packers' Charles Howe made it 6-3 with a 23-yard field goal, the Pirates went ahead 12-3 when Bradford again found Johnson on the same play, this time for a 21-yard touchdown.

The Packers, though, answered with a key touchdown drive right before halftime.

Starting at its own 33, Largo took eight plays to reach paydirt, D.J. Key scoring the first of his four touchdowns on the night from 4 yards away.

Key (19 carries, 95 yards) took an option pitch into the end zone from 17 yards out to open the third quarter and scored on a 9-yard carry off the left side on the Packers' next drive. His 2-yard scoring scamper to open the fourth quarter gave Largo a 38-12 lead.

"We ran the same plays in the second half that we did in the first half," Rodriguez said. "We hit a couple deep passes from Juwan Brown to Myrick Gwyn that got them off our back a little. Our tailback ran his heart out, and my hat's off to the offensive line."

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Largo 41, Boca Ciega 18 10/24/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 24, 2009 12:40am]
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