ST. PETERSBURG — The preseason game opened on a promising note for St. Petersburg when running back Darius Miller ran the opening kickoff back 70 yards. Sophomore quarterback Austyn Causey, in his debut, followed three plays later with a touchdown pass to Jarrett O'Connell.
But penalties and turnovers followed, and Northeast's junior varsity team scored with 16 seconds left for a 30-28 victory.
"Maybe our seniors could learn from our JV team. We had a lot of mistakes," Northeast coach Jeremy Frould said after his coaching debut.
Both teams had 25 penalties (11 for Northeast, 14 for St. Petersburg). They included the ejection of Northeast receiver Randy Johnson for throwing a punch at an opposing player.
St. Petersburg led 21-3 in the third quarter when both teams put in their JV squads.
Drive of the game: Miller's 10-yard touchdown capped St. Petersburg's 43-yard drive to open the third quarter and extend its lead to 14-3. "We got out heads right at halftime, and everybody got focused,'' Miller said.
Final word: "He's a 10th-grader, and he's going to make some mistakes, but I think he did a nice job,'' St. Petersburg coach Joe Fabrizio said of Causey, who completed 3-of-8 passes for 42 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Darin Klahr, Times correspondent