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LAND O’LAKES — Touted as the best teams in the county, Land O’Lakes and Pasco lived up to that billing Wednesday in a seesaw battle.
The Pirates led twice, including 2-1 at the half, before the host Gators rallied for a 3-2 win. By handing Pasco its first loss of the season, Land O’Lakes earned the Sunshine Athletic Conference title.
Land O’Lakes (20-1) went 6-0 in conference play while Pasco (16-1) had a 5-1 SAC mark. The rivals could meet in the playoffs since Land O’Lakes competes in Class 4A, District 7 and Pasco is in 4A-8.
“It could work out that way,” Pasco coach Barry Grayling said. “We’ll see what happens at districts.”
Land O’Lakes coach Mark Pearson said the SAC crown “means a lot,” adding his team’s focus is first and foremost on the district tournament.
One of Pearson’s players, however, would like nothing better than to meet Pasco in the postseason.
“I would love to play these guys again,” said Jake Frahm, who had a goal and an assist Wednesday.
Frahm set up the tying goal in the 54th minute on a throw-in from the left corner. Andrew Garcia leaped high above a crowd in front of the Pasco net and headed the ball through the hands of goalkeeper Angel Garcia.
Frahm netted the winner five minutes later, kicking in the rebound of a Garcia save off a corner kick from teammate Justin Lyles.
Pasco got on the scoreboard first with Eric Garcia converting a penalty kick in the 15th minute, but Land O’Lakes tied it at 1 three minutes later. Nathan Dalton sent a through ball to Garcia, who made a nice cross to Miguel Laliberte for the junior forward’s team-leading 24th goal.
Three minutes before the break, Pasco went ahead 2-1 when Orlando Alcocer took a pass from Jose Flores and beat keeper Kody Parker, who charged out of his net to meet the shooter.