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PINELLAS PARK - Last Friday, Gibbs surprised many fans by mostly outplaying Dunedin in a one-point loss.
As the Gladiators walked off the field still looking for their first win, coach Al Davis told his kids they played hard, and if they played that hard again, they would be rewarded.
The coach's words held true Thursday night. Pinellas Park (1-6) outrushed and outpassed Gibbs (1-6), but the Gladiators turned in some big plays to post a 19-14 victory.
"We've been working hard every week in practice," said junior running back Matthew Cabassa, who had a 73-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 46-yard run for a touchdown.
"Dunedin beat us, but it could have been our win, too. We didn't cry. We stuck together. We got what we deserved."
The game got off to a furious start as Pinellas Park's Dominic Bell returned the opening kickoff 73 yards. Three plays later Matt Hitchens ran in for the lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Cabassa collected his kickoff return for a tie.
"The way I saw it, we had to return the favor," Cabassa said.
Pinellas Park got the ball back, but fumbled it away. Quarterback Lamar Hall completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Russ and the Gladiators were in front.
There were three touchdowns in less than six minutes, but no scoring the rest of the first half.
Both teams added a score in the second half, but the Patriots were unable to re-take the lead. Pinellas Park outgained Gibbs 187 to 139 yards, but the Patriots were hurt by four interceptions and five fumbles, two of which were lost.
Cabassa had 123 all-purpose yards - 119 of it on his two touchdowns. Hitchens had 65 yards rushing for Pinellas Park.