ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg Catholic came back twice in Friday night’s game and pulled away from Carrollwood Day late in the second half to take the Class 2A, Region 3 matchup 35-14.
The visiting Patriots took the lead on the opening possession. They capped a 15-play drive with Brendan Palamar’s 1-yard pass to Wesley Hill for a touchdown. Palamar was 10-for-11 and 66 yards during the drive.
The Barons fumbled and punted on their next two possessions. But the defense held the Patriots to consecutive drives that ended in punts. Quarterback CJ Denmark then tied the score in the second quarter with his 28-yard run up the middle.
Carrollwood Day took the lead early in the third quarter when it recovered a Barons fumble on the half’s opening kickoff. After an incompletion, Palamar connected with Reidel Anthony Jr. for a 29-yard score. Anthony finished with four catches for 68 yards, and Palamar ended up completing 20-of-28 for 143 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
The second of those interceptions was a turning point in the game. After Denmark hooked up with Marco Palaganas for a 9-yard TD and a 21-14 lead, Carrollwood Day moved down the field from its own 31 to the St. Pete Catholic 34. That’s when Andrew Fievet intercepted Palamar’s pass near the 30 and returned the ball 70 yards to give the Barons a two-score advantage with 5:24 remaining in the fourth.
St. Pete Catholic’s Ke’von Marion had tied the score at 14 on an 11-yard TD with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. He finished with 78 yards on nine carries. D’angelo Hutchinson, who carried six times for 40 yards, had a 5-yard rushing TD that put the Barons up by three scores late in the game.
St. Pete Catholic coach Jay Davis said he was happy with the way his defense improved its discipline after a shaky start. As the game wore on, the Barons defense got stingier and sacked Palamar four times in the second half.
Davis also noted the offensive line’s improvement from the mid-third quarter on. The Barons racked up 127 yards on the ground in the second half. Denmark, who was 10-of-17 for 105 yards and one scoring pass, also had 81 rushing yards on seven carries and a rushing score.
“We were able to run the football,” Davis said. “When you can do that, good things are going to happen.”