ST. PETERSBURG — Through the first three quarters of play, Northeast's defense pitched a shutout when the opposing offense was on the field since the only time St. Petersburg got on the scoreboard was on the opening kickoff. The Vikings were eventually able to answer before both junior varsity squads put on a show in a the fourth quarter, scoring a combined 42 points.
Key drive: The Vikings were able to put together a solid sequence of plays after the Green Devils tried a fake punt that was easily corralled by Northeast. New quarterback Josh Belton led his team in from 31 yards out when he found star receiver Jalynn Williams in the flat for the 10-yard TD reception.
Stars of the game: St. Pete's Anthony Johnson, who is only a sophomore, intercepted Belton on two of his three first-half picks as both defenses were stout in the preseason kickoff classic. Although he made his debut in the final quarter when the JV teams were on the field, Northeast freshman QB Keon Gulley lit up the Green Devils with his arm and legs. Coach Jeremy Frioud said Gulley reminds him of a young Dexter McCluster, whom he coached while at Largo.
Stat of the game: Both varsity defenses combined to only allow one touchdown for three quarters, which is impressive for preseason. Northeast and St. Pete's defenses both look primed for good seasons.
Final word: "The defense played lights out. The defense has evolved where the offense has not, but the offense will pick it up. The execution on offense was obviously disappointing. There's a lot of new players out there, but at the same time that's practice and I put that on myself. The intensity needs to pick up on offense and I'm going to take care of that this week." — Frioud