GAINESVILLE — Gainesville, the No. 1 team in the state, dominated Hernando 60-3 in a Class 6A region quarterfinal Friday night.
Gainesville quarterback Mark Cato threw three first-half touchdown strikes of 12, 80 and 21 yards, and running back Ralph Webb had an 11-yard touchdown rush.
The ’Canes defense made life miserable for the Leopards (6-5) all night, holding them to fewer than 100 yards.
Hernando managed just 2 first-quarter yards and had minus-30 yards rushing in the third quarter.
“They came in it, and they wanted it more than we wanted it,” first-year Hernando coach Dwayne Mobley said. “We’ll be back in this situation next year, and we’ll continue to get better. …
“We’ll learn from this. … Gainesville is a pretty good team.”
Gainesville (11-1) scored touchdowns on their first four drives. Mark Cato hit Case Harrison for a 12-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.
The next touchdown came as Ralph Webb had a physical 11-yard touchdown rush in the end zone for a 14-0 Gainesville advantage at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Cato found a wide-open Chris Thompson for an 80-yard pass down the left sideline, and later Cato found Larry Prunty on a rollout for a 21-yard scoring pass to give the ’Canes a 28-0 cushion. Alex Holloway booted four extra points.
Hernando only managed one first down compared to Gainesville’s 14.
Hernando’s only score came just before the first half ended when JW McKethan kicked a 23-yard field goal set up by a Tyrail Hawkins’ 72-yard scamper to get the Leopards deep in Gainesville territory.
The Hurricanes led 28-3 at the half.
In the third quarter, Cato threw a tight spiral to Prunty for a 40-yard touchdown, and Cato dashed to the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown run.
The Gainesville defense got a score when Alex Gonzales picked off a pass and darted 50 yards for a big 47-3 lead.
“We had good execution, and played pretty strong,” Gainesville coach James Thomson said. “I’m happy we were ready to play after the bye week.