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Largo back has one shot

Senior running back Dexter McCluster seeks to make history in Thursday's regular-season finale against Osceola.

By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer
Published November 2, 2005

Largo's regular-season finale against Osceola on Thursday will not have any bearing on district titles or playoff spots.

But the game still has become an uppercase event.

DEXTER McCLUSTER GOES FOR 2,000 YARDS!

McCluster, a senior, has elevated his game this season.

He leads the county in rushing with 1,778 yards and his 203 yards in a 36-0 victory over Pinellas Park last week helped the Packers win the Class 5A, District 10 title.

He also is averaging 9.0 yards a carry despite constantly seeing eight- and nine-man fronts as sophomore quarterback Leonard Johnson learns the ropes.

But the most eye-popping statistic is that McCluster needs just 222 more yards to become the first player in county history to eclipse 2,000 yards during the regular season.

The question is will coach Rick Rodriguez let him?

After all, the game is for nothing more than bragging rights. The Packers host Dunedin in the 5A region quarterfinals next week and need to make sure McCluster is healthy for that game.

Rodriguez already has been careful to take McCluster out of lopsided games. Four times McCluster has not played in the fourth quarter.

But with the chance to chase history, Rodriguez said he will let his record-breaking back run.

"We're aware of what Dexter needs," Rodriguez said. "We'll give him the chance, but I'm not sure Osceola is going to let him. They have a pretty tough defense. We'll just give Dexter the ball and see what happens. If the game gets out of hand, we'll rest him. Otherwise, we'll let him try to get it."

[Last modified November 2, 2005, 07:01:42]


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