PINELLAS PARK — Latrez Bradley scored the go-ahead touchdown with 41.2 seconds remaining as Clearwater scored 38 unanswered points in the second half to beat Pinellas Park 38-24 in a wild non-district game Friday night.
Clearwater (4-2) trailed 24-0 at halftime, but rallied behind two touchdown passes from Rent Montie. His 2-yard touchdown pass to Cardrece Mobley and two-point conversion pass, also to Mobley, tied the score at 24-24 early in the fourth quarter.
“Obviously going into halftime we made about every mistake we could make,” Tornadoes coach Don Mesick said. “We couldn’t afford to give them short fields and we did, they scored. The second half was more conventional. We got them pinned in and got some turnovers.”
The winning drive was eventful enough to have its own story. After a short gain on reception, Mobley was tackled hard after the whistle, and Pinellas Park was flagged for unnecessary roughness. Mobley, however, responded to the tackle and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, then removed his helmet, earning him a second unsportsmanlike conduct and an ejection. Mesick disputed the second flag and was flagged himself.
The end result turned a second and 8 at the Pinellas Park 28 into a first and 10 at the Clearwater 40. But the Tornadoes settled down and the passing game got going. Montie connected with Keedrik Murray for a 20-yard gain and Marcus Jeter had a couple of nice runs to get deep into Pinellas Park territory. On third and 3 from the Patriots 5, Bradley scored on a run up the middle.
“Unbelievable second half for the offense to score 31 points after being shut out in the first half,” Mesick said. “A lot of clutch plays were made down the stretch by a lot of clutch players.”
Montie threw a touchdown pass to Marquvion Jeter in the third quarter and rushed for a two-point conversion. Marcus Jeter also had a touchdown run.
Pinellas Park (3-3) had its three-game win streak ended. The Patriots got first-half touchdown runs from Lawrance Toafili, Cameron Kier and Brandon Brearley along with a 37-yard field goal from Robert Myrick.
“We played a half of football and that’s it; you can’t win games like that,” Patriots coach Kenny Crawford said. “We got a little confident, a little complacent and that’s what it is. They’re a good football team and I think we were a little enamored by our own performance in the first half and in the second we couldn’t do anything.”
On the Patriots’ final possession Brearley was intercepted by Chendrick Cann, who returned it 12 yards for a touchdown.
After the touchdown, a player from Pinellas Park climbed into the stands to confront some fans. Law enforcement interceded to separate the player from the group of fans. The commotion forced the officiating crew to end the game with 16 seconds left.
“It was a bunch of extra nonsense that was not necessary,” Crawford said. “We did not act like we needed to. Both sidelines probably didn’t handle a few things well tonight.”