Weather has been the biggest factor in high school football around the Tampa Bay region the past three weeks. For some local teams, the most recent slate of games were perhaps the worst yet in that regard.
Lakewood was on the field at Pinellas Park during the first series of plays when the rain began. It got progressively harder the next few minutes and the play on the field showed it.
In the early going, each team had the ball twice. Every one of those four possessions resulted in a three-and-out and a punt.
On the next possession, Lakewood sacked the Pinellas Park quarterback after Pinellas Park bobbled the wet ball. That was the final play before officials cleared the field for lightning.
About an hour later, most of the spectators had left the school and the rain continued to fall with lightning and thunder also in the mix. Officials had not officially stopped game for the night, but that seemed like the only option.
The photo accompanying this story shows what the field was like just before 9 p.m. It was an hour later when this reporter, sitting in his living room at home, read this tweet posted by a sports media account at 9:58.
“Lakewood and Pinellas Park warming up! Looks like the game will continue.”
— Inside Sports(Pinellas Highschool Media Group) (@PinellasHSMedia) September 17, 2022
And apparently it did, although it is uncertain for anyone not actually in attendance how it could have happened on that field, which will likely need a great deal of work to be suitable for the next Pinellas Park game. Lakewood won the game by a score of 9-8 according to multiple online reports, which means some major adjustments were made from its normal pass-happy offense. The win evens the Spartans’ record at 2-2.
A few miles to the west, St. Petersburg played in constant rain from the opening kickoff and hung on for a 9-0 win over Osceola and improved to 2-1 on the season.
Gibbs jumped out to a 6-0 lead over Largo before lightning halted the game temporarily. When play resumed it was all Largo, who scored just before halftime and again in the third quarter on a fumble return to claim a 16-6 victory. The loss drops Gibbs to 0-4.
The game between St. Pete Catholic and Clearwater Central Catholic was halted with 9:41 left in the first half and CCC leading 20-0. The game was made final about an hour later and SPC is now 0-4.
In games whose scores suggest weather might not have been a problem, Boca Ciega (1-2) lost 38-7 to East Lake and Hollins (1-2) picked up its first win of the season 24-14 over Dunedin.
The Week 5 lineup of games, all scheduled for Sept. 23, include Lakewood at Atlantic, SPC at Neumann, Boca Ciega at Northeast, and Dunedin at St. Petersburg. Gibbs and Hollins are off.