PINELLAS PARK — St. Petersburg's new spread offense has sputtered at times this season. Friday night against Pinellas Park was not one of those times.
Quarterback Austyn Causey threw for 260 yards and five touchdowns, three to Jalynn Williams, and the Green Devils' defense had four interceptions in a 45-14 drubbing of the Patriots. St. Petersburg won despite 24 penalties for 247 yards.
The win keeps St. Petersburg's postseason hopes alive. It improves to 5-1 and 1-1 in Class 7A, District 10. Pinellas Park (4-2, 1-1) has lost two straight.
"We knew that their defensive backs couldn't cover our kids," St. Petersburg coach Joe Fabrizio said. "It was just about matchups. And we had two weeks to prepare, which helped us out."
Causey ended the night completing 14 of 28 passes. He was hot from the opening drive.
The Green Devils started with a six-play, 49-yard drive. The first play of the game was actually a Donnie Crum touchdown run, but it was wiped out by a holding call. Causey hit Williams on a 20-yard touchdown pass five plays later to quickly make it 7-0.
The Patriots responded with a long 10-play, 70-yard drive that ended on a 17-yard run up the middle by Torrance Andrews. Things calmed down until the beginning of the second quarter, when the Green Devils distanced themselves.
Causey marched St. Petersburg 75 yards on 11 plays and hit Adul Yates on a 15-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the second quarter to make it 14-7. Pinellas Park, behind the pounding running of Azyia Vance, used 11 plays to get to the Green Devils 11 yard line on fourth-and three. But Zamari Maxwell's pass was intercepted by Anthony Johnson and taken back 98 yards for a touchdown.
On the very next offensive play, Tyree McClendon intercepted Maxwell. While St. Petersburg was unable to score on that drive, it did get the ball back with just over a minute to play. On fourth and 10 from the Patriots' 41, Causey found Williams over the middle for a third touchdown of the half with 16 seconds left. The two-point try was no good and the Green Devils led 27-7.
St. Petersburg overcame 15 penalties for 165 yards in the half. They had more penalty yards than Causey had passing yards (164). Overall, the teams combined for 35 penalties for 322 yards.
In the second half, Causey connected again with Yates, this time on a 49-yard touchdown to make it 33-7. After another Andrews touchdown run made it 33-14, Causey hit Williams for the final time. On fourth and 9, they connected on a 35-yarder.
The final score came on an Austin Johnson 21-yard interception return.
"Had too many turnovers again," Pinellas Park coach Kenny Crawford said. "We've got to fix it."
The Patriots now face a must-win district game next week against unbeaten East Lake.