LARGO — Tarpon Springs coach George Kotis has boasted quite a bit in recent weeks about how he believes his program is ready to become one of the county's elite.
Now he has some evidence to support his case.
For three quarters Friday night, the Spongers dominated area power Largo. In the fourth, they hung on for dear life.
When it was over, Tarpon Springs had a confidence-boosting 28-20 win that had the team celebrating as if it had clinched a district title and the coach with the lofty goals hollering like a rabid fan as he exited the field.
"It's a stepping stone," Kotis said. "After the loss to East Lake (two weeks ago), this team has gotten better every day."
This was a complete win to say the least.
The Tarpon Springs (4-1) offense, led by tailbacks Adrian Golden (21 carries, 144 yards) and Darius Daniels (15 for 126), totaled nearly 400 yards. The Spongers defense forced three turnovers.
If Kotis had one complaint — and it wasn't' a big one — it was that the Spongers didn't step on Largo's throat when it had the chance.
"We want to dominate," Kotis said. "We didn't do that."
After Josiah Fisk passed 9 yards to Danny Chaisson for a score on a fake field goal, Tarpon Springs led 28-7 with 2:10 left in the third quarter and it looked as though the rout was on.
Then Largo (4-1) rallied.
A drive aided by a pass interference call on fourth and 10 ended with a touchdown, and with 6:27 left the Packers struck again on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Alex Skinner to Lakeif Daniels to make it 28-20.
Largo got the ball back once more, but on fourth down D.J. Key was stopped for no gain with 39 seconds left.
"We shocked the state," Spongers linebacker Kostas Vavlas said.
Keith Niebuhr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org