DADE CITY — It didn't come down to who made the most plays Friday night at W.F. Edwards Stadium, but rather who made the longest ones.
And that would be Lakewood's Bernard Reedy.
The speedy senior do-it-all scored on a long run, a long reception and set up two other scores with long kick returns to help the Spartans beat back Pasco's valiant effort in a 36-25 win in the Class 3A region quarterfinals.
The Pirates, a year after going to the state semifinals, finished 9-2.
Reedy finished with more than 350 yards of total offense, including a 3-yard touchdown run with 55 seconds left that sealed the Spartans' victory.
"He's probably the fastest kid I've ever seen in a high school uniform," said Pasco coach Tom McHugh.
Janarion Grant, Pasco's talented freshman, may not be too far behind.
Grant caught a 61-yard pass on the second play of the game to set up the Pirates' first score, as they went 75 yards in just three plays to grab the early lead.
Brennan Allen's field goal made it 9-7 later in the first quarter, but that was the last time the Pirates led.
Trailing 22-15 at the half —Grant returned a kick 88 yards to keep the Pirates close — Pasco got a Trey Dudley-Giles interception on the third play of the third quarter, and Grant scored from 7 yards out the next play to tie it.
But Reedy caught a wobbly pass over a Pirate defender, then broke the tackles of two others to turn what looked like an interception into a 79-yard touchdown with 8:30 remaining in the third.
The Pirates went toe-to-toe with Lakewood (9-2) all night — Allen made it 29-25 with a long field goal — but it was the toe of Lakewood punter Max Thuriere that ultimately sealed Pasco's fate.
With 5:18 remaining, Lakewood took over at the Pasco 42 but was held to a three and out. But Thuriere chipped a 35-yard punt down into the corner and out of bounds at the 2, crippling the Pirates options on offense.
"That hurt," McHugh said.
With no choice but to throw and under heavy duress, Pasco's D.J. Clower fired incomplete twice and scrambled for a short gain, and the Pirates had little choice but to punt from their own 7 with 2:42 remaining.
Reedy returned the kick 39 yards to the 16 before punching in the final score four plays later.
The Spartans defense was as blitz-happy as advertised, harassing Clower into one of his worst games. After completing his first pass, the Pirate senior missed on his next seven tries and finished 3-for-16 for 92 yards. He was also sacked seven times.
"Our guys said all week, let's have a party at the quarterback," said Lakewood coach Cory Moore.
John C. Cotey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org