Largo 34, E. Roosevelt 10
Largo senior Usama Young's uniform was soaked and muddy, and he couldn't keep his teeth from chattering. But the Lions cornerback still managed to smile when asked about the weather.
Young and his teammates looked comfortable yesterday in a steady rain, harsh wind and frigid temperatures, while host Eleanor Roosevelt was as sloppy as its slick, muddy field. The Lions took advantage of special teams miscues, got 86 rushing yards and four touchdowns from standout running back Anthony Manigault and held the Raiders' powerful ground game to 70 yards in a surprisingly lopsided 34-10 victory.
"We've been wanting to get outside for a while," Young said. "We didn't know who we were going to play or when we were going to play. We just had to be ready, no matter the conditions."
Largo (4-2, 3-2) kept its postseason hopes alive and dashed those of the Raiders (3-3, 3-3). The Lions also earned their first victory over Roosevelt since 1997. The Raiders' 41-13 victory last year helped knock Largo out of the playoffs.
Manigault set the tone early. He fielded the opening kickoff at his 8-yard line and raced 59 yards to the Raiders 33. Two plays later, Manigault burst through a hole off left tackle and went 34 yards for the score.
"Roosevelt has had our number the last few years, so to start off on a positive note like that was big for us," said Largo Coach Eric Wade. "I think that shows why [Manigault is] the best back in the area."
More than anything else, however, it was Roosevelt's special teams miscues and Largo winning the field position battle that determined the outcome. The Raiders failed to get off four punts because of mishandled snaps deep in their territory, and two they got off went 14 and nine yards.
Largo started inside the Roosevelt 40 on nine of its 12 possessions, and its final four scoring drives covered 9, 12, 5 and 24 yards. Roosevelt, meanwhile, started all but one of its drives in its territory. Outside of that drive, the Raiders advanced past midfield just twice -- both times when the game was out of reach.
"I think the biggest thing that hurt us was field position," said Roosevelt Coach Rick Houchens. "And punt snaps. Our punter just didn't handle the ball."
Roosevelt running backs Mike Hill, Talmadge Hayer and Barron Perkins each gained more than 100 yards in the Raiders' previous two games. Yesterday, a swift, hard-hitting Largo defense held them to 35, 45 and minus-1 yards, respectively.
"We came in aggressive and we took it to them," said linebacker Johnathan Madagu Jr.