WHEN: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Packer Stadium, Largo
Largo's secondary vs. Jefferson's Deiondre Porter
One of the toughest tests of the season for Largo's defense will be the task of stopping prolific Jefferson quarterback Deiondre Porter. Porter, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, has been nearly perfect this season, as the USF commit has passed for more than 2,500 yards and 28 TDs. The dangerous thing about Porter is he also has rushed for 1,194 yards and added 15 scores, accounting for 43 TDs overall for Jefferson. Largo will challenge Porter with one of the stiffest defenses in the Tampa Bay area, as the Packers have sacked opposing quarterbacks 13 times and picked off five passes. “Porter just has to keep doing what he's been doing,” Jefferson coach Jeremy Earle said. “He's been stingy with the football all season long and hasn't turned over the football, most importantly.”
Largo's tough schedule pays dividends
Packers coach Rick Rodriguez vowed to put his team through a more strenuous schedule, and for the most part, his team has answered the bell. Of Largo's 10 regular-season games, five were against teams that are in the postseason (East Lake, Lakewood, Venice, Lakeland Lake Gibson and Jesuit) and of the other five teams to not make the playoffs, two were .500 or above (Osceola, Countryside). Largo's two losses have come against undefeated East Lake (10-0) and Polk County power Lake Gibson, which is 7-2 and its only losses came against Lakeland Kathleen and Winter Haven. Though the Packers went 10-0 heading into last season's postseason matchup against Armwood, Largo has increased its level of difficulty during the regular season, which should come into play vs. Jefferson tonight.
Who steps up for Largo?
Largo will be without the services of running back Jarvis Stewart after he was arrested last week during a team walk-through. That leaves the Packers without their 1,000-plus-yard rusher against a potent Jefferson defense. It will be a running back by committee situation, leaving quarterback Donavan Hale (1,131 yards passing, 160 yards rushing) and receivers Reginal Campbell (28 catches, 428 yards) and Raheem Harvey (34 catches, 434 yards) to carry the burden of the offense. Largo will also be without the services of middle linebacker Francisco Hernandez (15 total tackles) because of an injury. “It doesn't change our game plan a bit,” Earle said of Stewart being out. “We watched some film on them without Stewart and the middle linebacker (Hernandez), and it looked like they didn't miss a beat.”