LARGO — Jonathan Crawford scored a pair of touchdowns and added an interception as Largo picked up wins over Dunedin (14-7) and Pinellas Park (7-6) in its three-team Kickoff Classic on Thursday.
The 6-foot-2 receiver pulled down one of quarterback Donavan Hale’s two opening-game scoring passes against Dunedin, then ran in another against Pinellas Park. His pick essentially ended the night’s finale against the Patriots.
Dunedin and Pinellas Park played the middle contest to a 6-6 draw.
The games each consisted of two 10-minute halves and provided all three teams plenty of quality insight heading Friday’s season openers.
“The nice thing is we got a lot of good stuff on film,” said Dunedin’s new coach Matt LePain. “We can evaluate it on Saturday and go from there.
Highlighting the Falcons’ night was the performance of two relative newcomers to the program – senior Andrew Gordon and sophomore Kane Taylor.
“Those are my two bookends on defense and they also switch time on offense to run some pass routes,” LePain said of his two new impact players. Neither played in the Falcons’ spring game against Seminole.
Gordon, a 6-foot-6 potential game-changer, grabbed three balls on the night for 118 yards and two touchdowns that went for 84 and 19 yards each.
Pinellas Park’s three-headed monster in the offensive backfield – Oscee Calhoun, Kel-el Williams and Donte Maxson – led the Patriots attack as expected. The trio rushed for most of the team’s 120 yards on 15 attempts against Dunedin.
“Pinellas Park, I’m going to tell you right now, if those guys don’t fumble the ball … woo, they can be something,” LePain said. “They’ve got some serious athletes. They’re going to be impressive down the road.”
Senior quarterback Mitch Grondin, however, displayed that the Patriots may have an effective passing attack that keeps defenses honest in 2014. Grondin completed 3 of 5 attempts for 41 yards, but did get intercepted by Dunedin’s Janero Crankfield.
Overall, Dunedin ran 31 plays for 258 yards Thursday night, with 159 of those coming in the second game against Pinellas Park.
“Everyone’s going to say the offense came out and struggled … you know how long it takes an offense to jell? Geez, it takes forever,” LePain said of his revamped and retooled attack. “You saw it today. There were some defensive battles out there and that’s just the way it goes when you play these first games.”
The Falcons stumbled through a 1-9 season last year, but LePain appears to have the program pointed in the right direction.
Dunedin’s defensive front, with Gordon and Taylor coming off the edges and Austin Johnson and Ikkeem Howard providing interior push, gave Largo fits all night. The Falcons forced a three-and-out on Largo’s first possession, but the Packers called a fake punt that resulted in a 44-yard Hale-to-Crawford touchdown pass.
Largo went up 14-0 late in the second half when Hale flung a shovel pass 11 yards to Dakari Allen.
The Falcons avoided the shutout with under a minute remaining. New quarterback Argi Radani hit Gordon on a deep ball down the left side and the 6-foot-6 athlete did the rest, racing to an 84-yard touchdown.
Dunedin will now prepare for its regular-season opener at home Friday against Dixie Hollins.
Largo also starts at home, hosting Northeast, and Pinellas Park travels to Boca Ciega.
LHS – Crawford 44-yard pass from Hale. PAT kick () – 1st Quarter (5:36)
LHS – Allen 11-yard pass from Hale. PAT kick () – 2nd Quarter (2:45)
DHS – Gordon 84-yard pass from Radani. PAT kick (Rapp) – 2nd Quarter (0:19)
PP – Hernandez 66-yard fumble recovery. Failed 2-pt. – 2nd Quarter (3:15)
DHS – Gordon 19-yard pass from Radani. PAT kick blocked – 2nd Quarter (0:43)
LHS – Crawford 6-yard run. PAT kick () – 1st Quarter
PP – Calhoun 1-yard run. Failed 2 pt. – 2nd Quarter
DHS – Harvey (8-39), Radani (5-26), Williams (3-5).
DHS – Radani (9-17 for 147, 2 TD).
DHS – Gordon (3-118, 2 TD), Fitzpatrick (4-23), Taylor (1-22), Harvey (1-20).