Tony Sanders rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns and quarterback Tony Rucker passed for 238 yards and a touchdown Friday night as Pinellas Park downed Northeast 38-20 at John Sexton Stadium. Sanders scored on runs of 76, 37 and 16 yards, with his first touchdown on the second play of the Class 5A, District 9 game. But it wasn't until Chris Bell's second-half interception return for a touchdown that the Patriots (2-2, 4-3) finally put the game out of reach.
Sanders, who carried the ball 22 times, gave the Patriots a 7-0 lead 1:09 into the game when he swept around right end.
Northeast (0-5, 1-6) stormed back to tie the game late in the first quarter on 14-yard option pass from Donte Bryant to Gerard Williams.
The Patriots scored again in less than a minute on Sanders' 37-yard run set up by passes of 22 yards to Renaldo Graham and 14 yards to Jermaine Holmes.
The Vikings rallied on a 31-yard pass from Shawn Austin to Marlo Dickens for a 14-14 tie. They took the lead on Craig Stevens' 43-yard touchdown pass to Williams after Mason Haynes intercepted a Rucker pass.
It took the Patriots only two plays to retaliate, with Rucker hitting Holmes for a 61-yard touchdown pass. The extra point attempt was blocked, keeping the teams tied at 20-20 with 5:54 left in the half.
Following a Northeast punt, the Patriots drove 51 yards in eight plays with Sanders scoring on a 16-yard run with 5:54 left in the first half.
Rucker completed a two-point conversion pass and the Patriots were ahead to stay, 28-20.
Brian Potts added a 29-yard field goal with five seconds in the third quarter before Bell caught an Austin pass from the 35-yard-line to put the Patriots ahead 38-20.