DADE CITY — On the pseudo shopping holiday known as Black Friday, Pasco County's single-season rushing king had more trouble finding a space than a patron in a mall parking lot.
Every counter, sweep and direct snap Gulf tailback Adrian Golden tried seemed to end the same way — with a host of Pasco defenders in his grill near the line of scrimmage. And Golden thought his Thanksgiving meal left him stuffed.
"The defense was outstanding tonight, man," Pirates quarterback D.J. Clower said, moments after the biggest victory of his life. "They were on fire tonight."
Fact is, virtually every facet of the Pirates' game was flammable Friday evening at W.F. Edwards Stadium. By the end of the Pirates' 50-0 romp in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs, the game clock was running the same way the end zone cannon had been firing.
"It's amazing," said senior defensive tackle Jarrod Carmody, whose team (11-1) hosts North Marion (9-3) in next Friday's 3A region final. "Every time I came off the field I was just grinning. I'm so happy to be going to the third round."
Carmody was the catalyst in a defensive effort that neutralized Golden (19 carries, 54 yards), whose rushing total was 169 yards shy of his season average coming in.
Golden, who entered with nine consecutive games of 168 or more yards, had no run longer than 10 yards and was stopped for a loss five times. Pasco coach Tom McHugh credited Carmody with taking out 295-pound tight end Leon Orr on Gulf's counter and clogging Golden's rushing lanes.
"If I had to give somebody the game ball, Jarrod Carmody stuffed up what they do best," McHugh said. "Our linebackers were grabbing instead of trying to knock his face off. That's all you have to do with a guy like that. You just attack him, you don't have to kill him."
While Carmody and Co. were neutralizing Golden, senior tackle Mark Christmas was consistently harassing sophomore quarterback Jacob Jackson, thrust into a starting role when junior Madison Burr was diagnosed with a knee sprain and torn thigh tendon on Wednesday.
Christmas had at least four sacks of Jackson, including one in the end zone for a second-quarter safety.
"We just came kind of limping into this game and we really didn't come in top notch, and they're too good for that," said Bucs coach Jay Fulmer, whose club (10-2) nonetheless posted the best season in program history. "They're too good for us not to be at full speed."
Offensively, Pasco may have played its most versatile game of the year. Three of Clower's four completions were touchdown throws to junior wideout Chaise Dunn, whose grandfather passed away Monday after a series of heart problems.
Meantime, tailbacks Jamall Haynes and Jamaal Sampson combined for 152 rushing yards and a pair of TDs.
"It's been there," McHugh said of the multiple dimensions. "And what we've usually done is kind of coasted a little bit. But you know, it's a playoff game. I wasn't taking any chances."