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)

North Suncoast Game of the Week: Sunlake 17, Pasco 13

Sunlake wide receiver Nick Valdes can’t contain his jubilation after the Seawhawks’ big win.


Sunlake wide receiver Nick Valdes can’t contain his jubilation after the Seawhawks’ big win.

DADE CITY — Sunlake's formula on offense is to run the ball, shove people around and play with the finesse of a smokestack.

The main beneficiary of this physical approach is running back Nathan Johnson, who gained 1,504 yards last season. Johnson got plenty of carries in Friday's season-opener against Pasco. At times, he was bottled up, but Johnson was able to find enough wiggle room to rush for two touchdowns to lead the Seahawks to a 17-13 victory over Pasco.

It was Sunlake's second straight win in the series. The Seahawks won last year's opener 17-6, snapping the Pirates 44-game win streak against Pasco County opponents that dated back to 2007.

"Pasco was once again a huge challenge for us," Sunlake coach Bill Browning said. "We corrected our mistakes after last week's Steinbrenner game and just came through with a lot of big plays, especially on defense."

Much like last year's game, Sunlake relied on an opportunistic defense and a punishing run game.

In the first quarter, the Seahawks recovered two fumbles, one which thwarted a drive and the other which set up Johnson's 5-yard touchdown run to give Sunlake a 7-0 lead.

The Pirates countered in the second quarter as Jokiah Felder ran 45 yards for a score in the second quarter to tie the game. Pasco had a chance to take the lead but an illegal block wiped a 48-yard run for a touchdown.

In the second half, Johnson was used more as a closer, hammering his 205-pound body into defenders on guileless runs up the middle. Johnson didn't break many runs, gaining just 54 yards. But he scored his second touchdown on a 7-yard run in the third quarter to give the Seahawks a 14-7 lead and his running helped set up a 39-yard field goal by Chris Wilkinson in the fourth quarter to make it 17-7.

Pasco tried to rally, but Sunlake's defense recorded a sack and recovered a fumble to stop one drive. The Pirates scored in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter on Grant Starling's 6-yard TD pass to Brandon Ray, but the extra point was blocked.

Sunlake recovered the ensuing onsides kick to seal the game.

Stars of the game

RB Nathan Johnson, Sunlake: Ran for 54 tough yards, scored twice and did not fumble.

QB Dayton Feiden, Sunlake: Though Feiden only threw for 89 yards, he was effective, turnover-free and kept Pasco off balance.

QB Grant Starling, Pasco: He was 16-of-28 for 139 yards and threw a touchdown in the final two minutes of regulation.

North Suncoast Game of the Week: Sunlake 17, Pasco 13 08/29/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 29, 2014 11:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

  2. Bucs' annual Women of RED preseason party attracts nearly 2,000


    TAMPA — Theresa Jones is primarily a college football fan, but she wanted to get a taste of the Bucs. So the 46-year-old Tampa resident bought a ticket for the team's Women of RED Ultimate Football Party at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.

    Lee White of Seminole tries on a helmet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers female fans descended upon Raymond James Stadium for the ultimate football party, the 2017 Women of RED: The Takeover, supported by Moffitt Cancer Center. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times

  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 1:10 Sunday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Today: vs. Mariners

    1:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Blake Snell
  4. Bucs' Ali Marpet: Move to center could pay off big


    TAMPA — No player works as closely with Jameis Winston as the center. Only those two touch the ball on every play. Together they make — if you will — snap judgements about defensive alignments.

     Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ali Marpet #74 warm up prior to preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  5. Inside the Rays continuing historically bad slump


    The numbers tell the story of the Rays inexplicable ongoing offensive slump, and the words detail how tough it has been to deal with.