LARGO — The momentum and the lead swayed in Largo's favor for much of the first half and early in the third quarter, but at no point did Jefferson appear to doubt it would win Friday's Class 6A first-round playoff game.
That's the way it is when you have a quarterback like Deiondre Porter, who threw for 163 yards, rushed for 211 yards, scored four touchdowns and ultimately led the Dragons to a 25-17 comeback victory.
“Deiondre makes us feel like we are never, ever out of it,” Jefferson wideout/defensive back Chavez Pownell said. “When we were down 3-0 (early in the first quarter) we never doubted. When we were down 10-0 (early in the second quarter) we never doubted. When were down 17-6 (early in the third quarter) we never doubted. We always believed we would win. Always.”
Largo (8-3) jumped to the 3-0 lead just a couple of minutes into the game when Ben Hammelmann converted a 39-yard field goal, just moments after quarterback Donavan Hale barely missed on a couple of looping passes in the end zone to Raheem Harvey.
From the looks of it early on, it appeared the Hale-Harvey combo might cause Jefferson (10-1) problems because of Harvey's height and leaping advantage. But time and again the Dragons' defensive backs stepped up to the challenge, including Pownell, who spent a lot of time patrolling Harvey's every move.
Only once, on a 62-yard touchdown pass play in the opening seconds of the second half, did the Hale and Harvey combo succeed on a big play — a play that put the Packers up 17-3.
After that, however, it was largely the Deiondre Porter show, which involved leading the Dragons on touchdown drives of 35, 75 and 95 yards and twice included fourth-down conversions, one on a fourth-and-2 at Largo's 5-yard line. Porter not only got the two yards, but he got five to put Jefferson up 18-17 early in the fourth quarter.
Porter, who came into the game with more than 1,000 rushing and 2,000 passing yards this season, then sealed the victory midway through the fourth quarter with a 25-yard touchdown run.
Jefferson 0 6 6 13 — 25
Largo 3 7 7 0 — 17
L - FG Hammelmann 39
L - Hale 12 run (Hammelmann kick)
J - Porter 8 run (kick blocked)
L - Harvey 62 pass from Hale (Hammelmann kick)
J - Porter 2 run (pass failed)
J - Porter 5 run (pass failed)
J - Porter 25 run (Pena kick)