Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Sports

North Suncoast: Sunday morning quarterback

Three thoughts on Pasco-Gainesville Eastside

1. A week after having one of the best all-around games of his career (two touchdown rushes, two passes broken up and two tackles for a loss), Pasco RB David Emmanuel had another strong showing. He rushed for a season-high 164 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in the Pirates' 52-0 win over Eastside. The monster showing gives him 287 yards and four touchdowns in this season's playoffs and puts him at eight 100-yard games this season. His season total grew to 1,311 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns.

"I don't know how he could play better," Pirates coach Tom McHugh said. "The whole season he's been like that."

2. Pasco's defensive line stole the show with a dominant performance against QB Sir Jackson, but the Pirates offensive line wasn't too shabby, either. The Rams mustered only one sack, and Pasco's starters had only four negative plays. Those numbers are even more surprising considering how Eastside held Anclote to negative rushing yards the previous week. Pasco tallied 318 Friday night.

3. The 52-0 blowout victory set several area records. The North Suncoast had never had a team score that many points in the playoffs, and the 52-point victory margin was the highest ever for the area in the postseason. The game was Pasco's third postseason shutout and the first since a 50-0 win over Gulf in 2008.

Pasco's unsung heroes

Brandon Ray: He continued a breakout sophomore season with big plays in all three phases of the game. Ray had an interception on Eastside's first possession, booted a 50-yard punt, drilled a 42-yard field goal and caught a 46-yard pass.

J.D. Edwards: The junior receiver/linebacker saved the shutout with an interception in the end zone in the final minutes. He also caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Ben Chandler.

Three thoughts on Pasco-Robinson

1. Although Pasco exorcised some Tampa demons with last year's 31-7 win over Jesuit in the region finals, the Pirates have struggled against Hillsborough County teams. Pasco is 2-4 against teams from Tampa, including a 41-14 loss to Jefferson in 2010.

2. Don't be surprised by defensive scores. Pasco has scored 20 nonoffensive TDs, and Robinson set a state record with 13 defensive TDs.

3. Pasco's line has dominated the last two games, but the Knights are loaded up front. Former Gulf lineman Bruce Hector and 6-foot-4, 275-pound senior Conner Rafferty have both committed to USF.

Three tangents

1. Springstead fans can be happy that the team that knocked the Eagles out of the playoffs didn't last long. Ocala Vanguard's season ended with a 21-10 loss to Gainesville, the team that defeated Hernando.

2. Hernando coaches weren't joking when they talked about the Leopards' brutal schedule. Hernando's spring opponent (CCC) is in the Class 3A state semifinals. Its preseason opponent (Pasco) is in the region finals. One nondistrict loss came to a South Sumter team that barely lost to Jacksonville Bolles on Friday, and the team that ousted the Leopards in the playoffs, Gainesville, will face Armwood in the Class 6A region finals.

3. The Crawfordville Wakulla team that ousted Pasco in last year's state semifinals had a much shorter postseason this fall. Tallahassee Godby edged Wakulla 14-7 in the second round. The winner of this week's Godby-Jacksonville Bishop Kenny showdown faces the winner of the Pasco-Robinson game in the state semifinals.

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