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"This keeps his job."

_ JULIUS WYNN, Gibbs athletic director, joking (we think) referring to Al Davis and Gibbs pulling off a 34-28 upset of Largo.

"We prepared all week to find No. 32 on the football field. But you saw him out there, he was running over people. He was running all over the place."

_ STEVE LEWIS, Temple Heights coach, on how he tried to prepare his team to stop Indian Rocks Christian's No. 32, running back Jimmy Davis, who entered Friday night's game leading the county in rushing and scoring. Though a helmet to the ankle knocked Davis out of the game, he still gained 51 yards on six carries.

GAME BALLS

JOSH MCKINNON, GIBBS: The senior threw for 142 yards, ran for 79 and scored once each way to lead the Gladiators.

BILLY TAPP, SP CATHOLIC: Completed 13 of 14 passes for four touchdowns and over 250 yards to keep the Barons perfect.

MICHAEL YOUNG, KESWICK CHRISTIAN: The senior wide receiver scored four times: he caught two touchdown passes from Blake Engelhardt, returned a fumble 27 yards and kicked a 50-yard field goal.

FERRELL MCGEE, ST. PETERSBURG: McGee picked off Dunedin's Theo Wilson twice, then with 1:50 remaining made a dramatic catch over a defender to give the Green Devils the upset win.

MATT SELBY, TARPON SPRINGS: In his first serious playing time this season, Selby moved to quarterback and was 6-of-10 for 164 yards, including two touchdowns to the quarterback he replaced, Justin Ross.

SOUTH COUNTY REVIVAL?

After a couple of down years (okay, down decades), teams from south St. Petersburg are off and running. Gibbs, Boca Ciega and St. Petersburg are all 2-1 after three weeks. That has not happened in at least two decades.

Bogie and St. Petersburg already have equaled their win totals from a year ago; Gibbs is halfway there.

PUNT ... WAIT, DON'T PUNT

Largo had trouble stopping Gibbs Thursday night, and had trouble even when it did.

Twice the Packers forced Gibbs to punt, with awful results.

Trailing 10-7, Largo forced the first punt but roughed the kicker to give the Gladiators a first down. That led to an 18-play scoring drive that ate up the final 7:21 of the first half and gave Gibbs a 17-7 lead at the break.

After pulling within three points again, Largo forced another punt. This one was fumbled and recovered by Brandon Shorter of the Gladiators on the Packer 29. The very next play, Walter Brady raced in for a touchdown and a 24-14 lead.

NO YOU DON'T

Indian Rocks Christian struggled to put Temple Heights away Friday night after losing the county's leading rusher and scorer, Jimmy Davis, to a first quarter ankle injury. Leading 21-6, an IRC punt pinned Temple Heights on its own 3. But as was the case throughout the night, there was some confusion, and some arguing, between the sideline and the huddle. At this juncture it almost cost IRC the game.

Seconds after "We've got it coach" could be heard from the IRC defensive huddle, Temple Heights quarterback Mike Perea slipped by all 11 defenders on a sneak. They allowed themselves to get sucked into the line of scrimmage while Perea turned the corner and sprinted 97 yards for the touchdown. His 2-point pass to Geoff Cunningham cut it to 21-14 with 50 seconds left in the third.

IRC had limited Temple Heights to 33 total yards until that play. But the defense did redeem itself later, when Temple Heights used an IRC turnover to march to the 11 yard line in the final three minutes but could not score. IRC had to punt with 1:31 left, but 10 seconds later Taylor McMillen grabbed an interception to end the game.

ODDS AND ENDS

+ Clearwater is 2-1 in Class 5A, District 9, but everyone else is 0-3. Those 0-3 teams _ Palm Harbor University, East Lake and Pinellas Park, have been outscored 299-60.

+ Tarpon Springs and Countryside are 3-0; St. Petersburg Catholic is 2-0. They are the only remaining unbeatens in Pinellas County.

+ Counting its playoff loss in 2002, Lakewood has now lost 14 straight games, 13 in the regular season.

+ Clearwater Central Catholic has now lost five straight against teams with LAKE in their name. We're just saying.

+ Countryside's win over Northeast was its first since 2000. The Cougars ended a three-year losing streak that saw them fall to the Vikings by double digits each time. With wins over Northeast and Dixie Hollins, Countryside has avenged its only regular season losses of 2003.

JUST AN OBSERVATION

+ Injuries will loom even larger this week with make-up games from Hurricane Frances scheduled for Tuesday (barring Hurricane Jeanne) and Wednesday, and then the regular week five slate on Friday and Saturday. Expect teams to start losing bodies to such a compact schedule. Countryside and Northeast, for example, both lost their starting left tackles Thursday. The Cougars' Seaver Brown returned, but the Vikings' Devin Deloach left the stadium at halftime. Postseason hopes could rise and fall depending on who survives this coming week.

_ JOHN C. COTEY, JAMAL THALJI

Times staff writers

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