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)

Pasco: 2014 football preview

 Pasco's Jamal Mention  A recent 7-on-7 football tourneys.

John C. Cotey | Times

Pasco's Jamal Mention A recent 7-on-7 football tourneys.


Coach: Tom McHugh (eighth season, 70-16)

Last season: 7-4

Class/district: 5A-6

Colors: Red and black

Stadium: W.F. Edwards Stadium, 1204 S.R. 52, Dade City

Playoff appearances: 1977, 1983, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Last appearance: Lost 17-7 to Citra North Marion.

3A state championship: 1992


Aug. 29 vs. Sunlake, 7:30

Sept. 5 at Fivay, 7:30

Sept. 12 at Wesley Chapel, 7:30

Sept. 26 at Nature Coast, 7:30

Oct. 3 at South Sumter, 7:30

Oct. 10 vs. Weeki Wachee, 7:30

Oct. 17 vs. Hernando, 7:30

Oct. 24 at Central, 7:30

Oct. 31 vs. Zephyrhills, 7:30

Nov. 7 vs. River Ridge, 7:30

Mark your calendar

There's no doubt Pasco has been the best team in the county since 2008, but Sunlake isn't too far behind. The Seahawks are 36-7 the past four seasons, and beat Pasco last year 17-6. The rematch is the season opener on Aug. 29, this time in Dade City. Pasco plays district favorite South Sumter on Oct. 3 in Bushnell, and don't be surprised if a playoff spot isn't on the line when the Pirates host arch-rival Zephyrhills on Oct. 31, which will surely be the Pirates' biggest game of the season. Pasco won last year's highly-charged edition of the 9-Mile War 24-16.

Huddle highlights

Seasoning under center: Last year, quarterback Grant Starling was thrown into the starting role on the eve of a Week 4 game against Nature Coast. With a handful of games and an offseason preparing for the starting role under his belt (after throwing for 10 touchdowns), Starling should be better. Truthfully, if the Pirates are going to bounce back after a 7-4 season, he has to be.

Sharing the load: This could mark the first season since 2009 the Pirates haven't produced a 1,000-yard rusher. But that's okay. The Pirates have an abundance of capable backs, and maybe someone emerges from a committee that includes senior Brandon Lee, juniors Eric Wilson and Jakiah Felder, and freshman Cameron Smith to become the No. 1 back.

Dual duty: Bowman Archibald was recruited by many major schools as a tight end, but don't be surprised to see Pasco line him up just as much as a wide receiver.

Never count out McHugh: Pasco might have had a bumpy road last season, but that didn't stop the Pirates from making the playoffs for the seventh straight time under coach Tom McHugh; only John Benedetto, who took Land O'Lakes to 12 straight postseasons, has a longer streak.

Fine line: McHugh thought last year's offensive line was the best he has ever had, but it underachieved. This year's group — which includes Jamal Mention (6-6, 313), Jeff Mitchell (6-3, 288), Austin Wade (6-0, 245), Cole Blevins (5-7, 205) and Mark Jernigan (6-1, 250) — could be what last year's group was supposed to be.

Known quantities

DL/TE Bowman Archibald, Sr.: The University of Miami commitment and No. 10 player in the HomeTeam 100 should wreak havoc from the defensive line. And he can also play linebacker, while his soft hands, size (6-6, 250) and speed make him a top receiving target as well. McHugh called him the "new Jimmy Graham."

DT Andrew Ivie, Sr.: Along with Archibald, Ivie, a Florida commit, gives Pasco its best defensive line ever. Ivie (6-3, 260) possesses a strong bull rush and spin move, and is virtually unblockable one-on-one.

OL Jamal Mention, Jr.: Mention will be one of the top-line recruits in the 2016 class and will be the key in Pasco's power sets this season.

WR/DB Tyree Austin, Sr.: No one on his team causes McHugh to scratch his head more than the 5-11, 165-pound Austin, because every time he runs a route, makes a catch or bats away a pass, the head coach wonders where all the college offers are.

LB/FS Brandon Debyah, Sr.: The Pirates' leading tackler (109) and top returning sackster (3.5) from last year will help on both sides of the ball, and another 100-tackle season should loom.


RB/LB Cameron Smith, Fr.: You won't hear McHugh talk up too many freshmen, but Smith (5-10, 210) has big-time potential, will start at linebacker and see action at running back.

WR/DE Sherwin Emmanuel, Sr.: At 6-4, 190 with a knack for catching balls and rushing quarterbacks, Emmanuel reminds us of former Pirate Hakeeme Ishmar, now at FAU.

WR/DB Issac Johnson, Jr.: The son of the quarterback by the same name that led Pasco to the 1992 state championship has a bunch of ability and could have a breakout season.

DL Cameron Crews, Sr.: Playing alongside Ivie, Bowman and Emmanuel should give the 6-1, 245-pound end plenty of opportunities to make plays.

K/DB Brandon Ray, Sr.: Okay, we know, Ray is hardly new to the scene. But the 6-0, 185-pounder didn't finish the season with Pasco last year, and his return could be a boon. Ray was exceptional as a sophomore (second on the team in scoring with 93 points). And if he regains that form it's a huge plus for the Pirates.

Coach's corner

"We did some good things last year. I expect to have another good season." — McHugh

Pasco: 2014 football preview 08/09/14 [Last modified: Saturday, August 9, 2014 8:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Competition and uncertainty keep New Port Richey's Steve Miklos hooked on power boat racing


    HOLIDAY — If Steve Miklos could have it his way, every power boat race would take place in rough water. He finds the turbulent conditions calming, an attitude he's developed during a professional power boat racing career that spans hundreds of races dating back to 1991.

    Steve Miklos, the throttle man and owner of the No. 51 Sun Print Racing boat, poses at his shop in Holiday. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  2. Did a Cubs player give Trump the middle finger during a White House visit?


    President Donald Trump welcomed former Rays manager Joe Maddon and the World Series champion Chicago Cubs into the Oval Office. But it was a photo that surfaced later that got much of the attention on …

    President Donald Trump welcomed former Rays manager Joe Maddon and the World Series champion Chicago Cubs into the Oval Office. But it was a photo that surfaced later that got much of the attention on social media.
The photo, taken by Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, purportedly shows outfielder Albert Almora Jr. flipping a bird while standing just feet from Trump as the other players were gathered around his desk. [Gordon Wittenmyer via Twitter]
  3. Lightning planning $6 million upgrade to practice facility


    Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will invest $6 million in upgrading the team's practice facility, the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.

    The plan will create a brand new locker room and training facilities for the team, an 18,000 square foot addition.
  4. Buccaneers defense was among NFL's best when its pressure got to the QB


    It doesn't matter how many times they've thrown a football. It doesn't matter how many seasons they've played. It doesn't matter whether they have a degree from Harvard or Central Florida.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded 6.5 sacks last season, but many of his other contributions didn't show up in the box scores. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]

  5. Rays DFA Danny Farquhar to make room for Brad Boxberger


    The Rays continued shuffling their bullpen, dumping RHP Danny Farquhar after Wednesday's game to make room for RHP Brad Boxberger to be activated off the DL.

    Farquhar, who worked an inning in Wednesday's 6-2 loss, had a 2-2, 4.11 record for 37 appearances, working primarily in lower leverage situations. In …