NEW PORT RICHEY — Following Friday's 45-13 rout of Gulf, Pasco coach Tom McHugh gathered his team in the post-game huddle. He preached how important it is to strive for perfection every time the team takes the field, especially with the season more than half over and playoffs looming.
Pasco wasn't perfect Friday night at Gulf. But the Pirates were pretty darn close.
Pasco scored on its first three drives, survived a second-quarter lull that saw Gulf get back into the game, then poured it on after halftime to win going away.
"We dropped passes we shouldn't have dropped, we got penalties we shouldn't have had, those kind of things," McHugh said.
While the Pirates (5-0, 3-0) weren't firing quite as sharply as McHugh would have liked, it was more than enough against district foe Gulf.
On its sixth play from scrimmage, Pasco's Jacob Guy (10-for-23, 309 yards) hit Mike Clower for a 37-yard touchdown to put the Pirates up 7-0. The next time Pasco had the ball, Trey Dudley-Giles took a receiver screen pass at the line of scrimmage and raced virtually untouched 92 yards on third and 22 for a 14-0 lead.
On the first play of the second quarter, Pasco's David Emmanuel capped a seven-play, 58-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone, and it looked like the rout was on.
That's when Gulf (3-3, 0-3) put together its finest drive of the evening. Starting at their own 15, the Bucs ran the ball 13 consecutive plays to move to the Pirates' 12. On third and 8, T.J. Blount carried off the left side into the end zone from 10 yards away to get the Bucs on the scoreboard with 4:13 left in the half.
After halftime, though, Gulf was unable to sustain the momentum gained in the second quarter and went three and out on its first drive after the break. Pasco's Carson Brock connected on a 32-yard field goal to make the score 23-6. The Pirates then held Gulf to another three and out and Janarion Grant effectively ended any doubt about the outcome when he ran around the left end and somehow found his way through a pack of defenders to race 39 yards for a 29-6 lead.
"(Gulf) did a good job. They ran the power-I at us and kept the ball away from us," McHugh said. "We made an adjustment at halftime and put an end to that pretty much. That part I was happy about, we could do that on the fly."
Guy hit Grant for a 13-yard touchdown on a screen pass, and Emmanuel capped Pasco's scoring with a 10-yard rush into the end zone early in the fourth quarter.
Blount (17 carries, 65 yards) scored his second touchdown of the game for Gulf in the closing seconds after running into the end zone from 13 yards out.