Inaugural Pasco County All-Star Game a defensive matchup
LAND O’LAKES – Thursday night's inaugural Pasco County All-Star Football Game featured plenty of offensive stars.
There was River Ridge running back Chris Schwarz, the county’s all-time career leader in rushing yards, and 1,600-yard rusher Glass Wilson of Ridgewood. There also were a handful of electrifying receivers, led by Mitchell’s Dominic Fiumara and JJ Lewis and Zephyrhills’ Jackie Tucker Jr.
With that kind of talent on display, there was potential for a high-scoring game.
It's understandable that one might not have heard much about Land O’Lakes Tommy Farmer or Mitchell’s Danny Riffe and Devontay Taylor, especially with so many others getting so much attention.
Farmer, Riffe and Taylor played on the other side of he ball, the defensive side. But make no mistake, that is where the headlines were made Thursday.
They showed that the best offense is a good defense in a game that turned out to be a low-scoring slugfest. The East side made the most plays in a 14-2 victory.
“I really thought it was going to be a shootout,” said Taylor, who was named the defensive line MVP. “I thought there was going to be 30 or 40 points scored by each team. I was surprised by the way it turned out.”
Tucker, who shined on the offensive side of the ball for the Bulldogs this season, concentrated on defense for the all-star game and made the game’s biggest plays in the first half with an interception that thwarted the West’s best drive of the game.
That play helped Tucker win overall MVP.
“It’s truly a blessing,” he said. “They didn’t know where they were going to put me in this game, offense or defense. I wanted to play defense because that's where I’ll probably be from now on.”
The East forced other turnovers. Zephyrhills Christian's Issac Johnson recovered a fumble on a punt and Farmer picked off a pass.
“Our defense was a family on the field,” Farmer said. “On the interception, I was able to drop and get a hand on it. If I’m able to get a hand on it, then I can catch it.
“The game itself is memorable because I got to play in the first one.”
Riffe recovered a fumble and made a tackle in the end zone on a safety that turned out to be the West’s only points.
Making the most on offense
There were few big plays on offense. The two biggest ones resulted in scores during the first half for the East. Zephyrhills’ Tre'un Everett, the offensive MVP, ran 35 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Pasco’s Jakiah Felder added the other touchdown on a 45-yard run. Another Pirate, Jamal Mention, was named the offensive line MVP.
River Ridge coach Ryan Benjamin was named as the county coach of the year. Sunlake’s Matt Smith was named the offensive assistant of the year and Zephyrhills’ Booker Pickett was the defensive coach of the year.