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GREEN DEVILS REVEL

Nasty conditions hurt Lakewood, work wonders for St. Petersburg.

Lakewood likes to play fast-break football, using its assortment of skill players to pile up points.

But if there's one thing that can slow the Spartans offense, it's the elements.

So it was understandable St. Petersburg coach Joe Fabrizio was downright giddy when Friday's game was delayed for an hour because of lightning and the first half was played in a drizzling rain.

The less-than-perfect conditions caused problems for Lakewood, which committed some early miscues. The Green Devils capitalized, jumping out to a big lead before holding on for a 20-8 victory.

"We actually were hoping for Noah's Ark," Fabrizio said. "We wanted it to really pour. That's our style.

"We're mudders. They're thoroughbreds."

Fabrizio couldn't have scripted a better start to the game. The Spartans (1-1) lost fumbles on their first three possessions. The second one was recovered by St. Petersburg's Dominick James, who returned it 15 yards for a touchdown.

The Green Devils (2-0) recovered another fumble on the ensuing kickoff. One play later, Malik Wilson ran around the right end for a 34-yard touchdown to give St. Petersburg a 14-0 first quarter lead.

"Getting off to a good was big for us," said Wilson, who finished with 81 yards rushing. "It let everyone we were ready to play."

In the second quarter, the Green Devils got their biggest play on offense when quarterback David Jones scrambled 43 yards on third and 16. That set up a 3-yard run by Wilson to make it 20-0 at the half.

Lakewood scored in the third quarter on a 2-yard run by Byronton Jackson. The extra point failed.

The Spartans kept trying to rally but were undone by costly turnovers and penalties. In the fourth quarter, Lakewood quarterback Jermiel Douse lost a fumble inside St. Petersburg's 10-yard line.

On their next possession, Douse eluded the rush on fourth down but was stopped short of the goal line.

Lakewood lost four fumbles and threw an interception. The Spartans also had 17 penalties.

Bob Putnam can be reached at putnam@sptimes.com

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