DADE CITY — When Joey Ivie walked through Pasco’s halls during the school day, teammate David Emmanuel said he could see the blood rising in his monster lineman’s eyes.
Friday night, Ivie unleashed the fury.
The Florida oral commitment racked up 4 1/2 sacks and forced a fumble to lead a dominant Pirate defense to a 34-10 win over Citra North Marion in the Class 5A region quarterfinals.
“Joey’s a Division I football player going to Florida,” Pasco coach Tom McHugh said. “That’s an expectation.”
And it finally came to fruition for Pasco (11-0), which eliminated North Marion (5-6) for the second consecutive year and advances to host Gainesville Eastside in Friday’s region semifinals.
Ivie, a four-star recruit, entered the game with only five sacks after facing double-teams throughout the year. But he unveiled some new moves Friday night and teamed with Morgan Flournory for a sack on the fourth play of the game.
Flournory finished with four sacks to increase his season total to 181/2 and help hold the Colts to 145 yards — their second-lowest output of the season. Half of their yards (73) and their lone touchdown came in the closing minutes with the game already out of reach.
“They didn’t know what to do with the speed that we had,” Ivie said.
Ivie and the defense gave Pasco’s high-powered offense time to click after a scoreless first quarter. North Marion focused on stopping star athlete Janarion Grant and held him to 4 yards in the first half, but that opened up opportunities for Pasco’s other playmakers.
“They had him keyed in pretty good,” Emmanuel said. “That left me open to do what I had to do.”
After J.D. Edwards recovered a muffed punt, the Pirates took control. QB Ben Chandler sneaked in from a yard out, and Emmanuel broke for a 15-yard touchdown run on the next drive.
Emmanuel played one of the most complete games of his career.
The Division I-A recruit had two tackles-for-loss, batted down one pass, broke up another and rushed for a game-high 135 yards, including 34 on a touchdown in the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach.
“He is one player that doesn’t complain,” Ivie said. “He always goes out there and does his job. He’s just unbelievable.”
Grant broke through in the second half, finishing with 118 rushing yards and finding a new way to score his 16th touchdown in five games. As two defenders tried to bring him down near the goal line, he backed his way across the goal line and rolled over in the end zone to complete a 20-yard score.
Ivie and the rest of the defense made sure North Marion could not make a comeback. The high-powered Colts offense had as many negative plays (10) as it did snaps of at least 10 yards.
Ivie forced a fumble near the Colts 20 in the closing minutes to set up another scoring chance. Pasco kicker Brandon Ray — last year’s hero after booting the game-winner against North Marion as a freshman — hit his second field goal of the night, a 39-yarder, to send the Pirates to the second round for the third consecutive season.