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Packers edge Spartans

Staring at a three-point deficit and a possibly fatal second district loss, Largo's Packers went with their high-percentage play: Give the ball to Brian Magee. Magee's only catch of the night _ a 67-yard touchdown pass from Jason Kylis _ just happened to be all the Packers needed to squeeze out a 7-3 win over Countryside Friday.

The touchdown play was a brief flash in a four-quarter defensive battle. Both teams managed just three first downs in the first half. Neither team got inside the other's 30-yard line until Countryside's Denny Tucker kicked a 34-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining in the first half.

"I don't know what would have happened if we hadn't gotten that play," said Magee. "It would have been a long game."

Largo improved to 6-1 overall, and 2-1 in Class 5A, District 9. Countryside went to 5-3, 1-3.

"We have never had an easy game against Countryside," said Packers coach Pat Mahoney. "They always play us tough. We came in expecting a real tight defensive game."

The action was slow for most of the first half. Largo got two long pass plays, one a 26-yarder to Eric Alexander, but couldn't capitalize.

And Countryside didn't get a first down until 2:24 into the second period.

Largo seemed to get moving with 2:04 left in the half, but an illegal procedure penalty wiped out a 30-yard pass completion.

Then, with 24 seconds left, Largo defensive back David Crawford gambled for an interception on a sideline pass. He missed, and Todd Minear got the ball for a 23-yard reception to the Largo 12. Two plays later Tucker, subbing for injured Case Korpan, who broke his right arm early in the game, put the Cougars up by three.

A 14-yard pass from Donnie Stephens to Peter Johnson put the Cougars on the Packers' 40. But Largo's defense flushed Stephens from the pocket on third-and-12 from the 42, and the Cougars had to punt.

On the next play, Kylis lobbed a long pass for Magee, who outleaped defensive back Alex Lane at the Countryside 30, shook out of a tackle and went in for the score.

"When you're in a pinch you go with your best athlete, and they did," said Countryside coach Bob Stephens.

Largo could have sealed the game with another touchdown, but Mike Hearns fumbled on third-and-goal at the Countryside 7. That, and a pass interference call on Largo, put Countryside up at the 22 with less than 10 seconds left, but Stephens' last-ditch pass went incomplete out of bounds as time ran out.

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