Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

3A football: Tallahassee Godby 28, Pasco 14

Pasco quarterback D.J. Clower, who threw two touchdowns, tries to dodge Tallahassee Godby defenders in the first quarter.


Pasco quarterback D.J. Clower, who threw two touchdowns, tries to dodge Tallahassee Godby defenders in the first quarter.

DADE CITY — They took a collective knee near the south end zone, got words of consolation from their coach and recited the Lord's prayer a final time. Then, a group of cheerleaders sent a strand of black balloons floating into the frigid sky.

With those helium-filled orbs went the dreams of the 2008 Pasco Pirates.

One of the most magical autumns Dade City has experienced ended Friday night, but not before overlapping into winter. The Pirates' 28-14 loss to Tallahassee Godby in the Class 3A state semifinals — before a packed W.F. Edwards Stadium audience — put a sobering end to a season even second-year coach Tom McHugh never imagined would last this long.

"These guys have hearts of champions," McHugh said. "There's nothing really else I can say. I didn't think they could do it. I think we overachieved just based on a team effort."

On a night when temperatures flirted with the high 30s, the overachievement darned near continued. Down 28-7 with just under 10 minutes to play, Pasco (12-2) scored three plays after a Cougars fumble to make it a two-touchdown game, and had first and goal at the Godby 4-yard line with 3:17 remaining, but failed to punch it in.

The outcome was sealed when linebacker Justin Jones batted away D.J. Clower's fourth-down pass into the end zone.

"We've exceeded everyone's limits they put on us," senior two-way lineman Zach Faza said. "And really that's a victory in and of itself."

Until Clower's final pass, Godby's self-destructiveness (three lost fumbles, two errant field-goal tries) and Pasco's defensive strategy had kept the Pirates' aspirations alive.

Against the most prolific passing attack they had encountered all season, the Pirates successfully clogged the secondary with nickel and dime packages, holding Godby (12-2) to 138 passing yards. In essence, Pasco dared Godby to run.

And the Cougars took them up on it. Behind junior Lavorie Johnson (24 carries, 149 yards), the Cougars ran effectively enough to give their passing game some breathing room, scoring twice in the first 2:06 of the fourth quarter to pull ahead 28-7.

Before that spurt, Godby had begun third-quarter drives on the Pasco 16 and 9, but failed to score either time. One 30-yard field goal try ended with a botched snap; another sailed wide right.

"We were our own worst enemy tonight from time to time," Godby coach Shelton Crews said. "We've seen a little bit of what they were doing earlier in the year, and we were just trying to take what they gave us. …You noticed we ran the ball more tonight than we've been running."

Pasco scored on its second possession of the night when junior Chaise Dunn got behind Godby's secondary and lunged for a 25-yard touchdown catch from Clower, but could muster little else until the fourth quarter. Pasco had only 58 first-half yards and failed to get a first down on the next five possessions after Dunn's touchdown.

Godby tied the score on Johnson's 8-yard touchdown run with 5:48 to play in the first half, then scored on the half's final play when FSU commitment Willie Downs — a distant cousin of Pirates senior Josh Johnson — took a direct snap and made a 1-yard scoring plunge.

Godby quarterback A.J. Graham, a 3,500-yard passer, managed only 103 aerial yards, but scored both of the Cougars' fourth-quarter touchdowns, including a 35-yard run two plays after a Pirates fumble that made it a 21-point game.

"We wanted him to run and that's what he did," McHugh said. "Sometimes you get a little blood in your eyes and you live by the blitz and you die by the blitz. … They did what they were told to do and it didn't work out for us tonight."

Godby 28

Pasco 14

Up next

State finals

All high school football games, Class 3A-6A, are Dec. 19-20 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Admission is $10 per session.

Class 4A

Plant vs. Tallahassee

Lincoln, 1 p.m. Dec. 20

On the Web

Friday Night Rewind was at all of Friday's bay area games. Catch video highlights at highschool.

3A football: Tallahassee Godby 28, Pasco 14 12/12/08 [Last modified: Saturday, December 13, 2008 12:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Family a driving force for University of Tampa pitcher David Lebron


    TAMPA — For University of Tampa junior pitcher David Lebron, baseball reminds him of family. He uses it to help honor the memory of his father, who taught him the game. One day, he hopes his career can help support his mother and allow her to rest.

    University of Tampa junior pitcher David Lebron (Courtesy of University of Tampa)
  2. L.A. delay could re-open Super Bowl chance for Tampa in 2021


    Construction delays on the NFL's new stadium in Los Angeles mean the Rams and Chargers won't be playing there until 2020, a year later than expected, and the ripple effect could give Tampa another chance at landing a Super Bowl in February 2021.

    Tampa and Raymond James Stadium last hosted a Super Bowl in 2009, when the Pittsburgh Steelers edged the Arizona Cardinals.
  3. Bucs' Gerald McCoy, Jameis Winston honored in NFL top 100


    Helping fans pass time through the offseason each summer, NFL Network has been unveiling its top 100 players for 2017 as chosen by the players, and the Bucs' Gerald McCoy and Jameis Winston are the first Tampa Bay players revealed, coming in at No. 52 and 57, respectively.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis WInston and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, shown in the 2016 season finale against the Panthers, have both been named to the NFL Network's top 100 players for 2017.
  4. The play occurred in the third inning when Angels rookie Nolan Fontana, making his major league debut, tried to slide past the tag of Rays second baseman Michael Martinez.
  5. Former Gator Caleb Brantley paying a steep price for nothing


    It turns out Caleb Brantley isn't quite the dirtbag that millions of people presumed. It's too bad the damage to his reputation and bank account is already done.

    Caleb Brantley, who dropped to the sixth round of the draft, works out during Browns rookie minicamp. [Associated Press]