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Big-play Spartans brace for big-play Pirates

Lakewood and Pasco have no secret weapons. Both teams look to score off big plays. Every team has them, but none use it with such devastating results as these two.

The Spartans have nine touchdowns this season of 50 yards or more. The Pirates are even better with 14 touchdowns of 50 yards or more.

It will be up to the defense to keep the opposing offense from going long in what could be a wild, high-scoring Class 3A first-round matchup.

"Pasco definitely has some explosive players," Lakewood coach Cory Moore said. "We will have to limit their big-play ability."

The Pirates' weapon of choice is the pass. Quarterback D.J. Clower can calmly take a few steps back and deliver a strike to a handful of tall receivers who can outmuscle and outleap defenders.

Of Pasco's 14 long touchdowns, eight have come off bombs from Clower.

But Moore believes his defense will be prepared after playing other high-powered offenses this season, such as Countryside, Jefferson, St. Petersburg and Spoto.

"We've gone up against a lot of teams that put up points in a variety of ways," Moore said.

The Spartans are more versatile in their big-play capability. Most have come from Bernard Reedy, who has scored on long gains on runs, receptions and returns in the kicking game.

Jermiel Douse has provided a second whirling dervish for opponents to consider with scores on runs as well as returns.

"We feel like we've got our own guys who can make big plays," Reedy said. "We just have to stay focused to prevent (Pasco) from doing the same."

One other thing Lakewood has to worry about is looking past this game to a hopeful rematch with Jefferson in next week's region semifinals.

"I wouldn't say we're looking at Jefferson right now," Reedy said. "We're just peeking at them. But we have to take care of the opponent that's in front of us first."

Big-play Spartans brace for big-play Pirates 11/18/09 [Last modified: Thursday, November 19, 2009 12:19am]
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