DADE CITY — Pasco found itself in a corner.
The Pirates looked surprised to be there. After their win against Land O'Lakes last week, the Pirates were riding high entering the game against Sebring (1-1) on Friday at W.F. Edwards Stadium.
Oh, they won 34-20, but it didn't come easy. The Pirates (2-0) saw a 20-0 second-quarter lead dwindle to six, and then adjustments had to be made.
"They never gave up, and that's why I'm proud of them," Pirates coach Tom McHugh said. "I credit Matt Jackson with what he did on the fly."
What Jackson did was shut down the Blue Streak's star receiver, Devin Clarke. The sophomore was torching the Pirates secondary, especially on screen passes. Clarke had nine catches in the first half and two touchdowns. He finished the game with 240 yards and three touchdowns, including an 85-yard scamper in the second.
But secondary adjustments, such as putting defensive back Jamaal Sampson on Clarke, helped hold him to just two catches in the second half.
Sampson says he didn't have his hands full with Clarke but had to step up his game.
"I didn't want him running that screen play on me," Sampson said. "I had to get inside of (his route)."
Offensively, Pasco was led by quarterback D.J. Clower and running back Jamall Haynes. Clower went 6-of-11 for 99 yards and three scores, including a 53-yard bomb to receiver Hakeeme Ishmare. Haynes had 21 carries for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
"We made some mistakes and lost momentum," Clower said. "Halftime really got us going again."
McHugh gave a rousing speech inside the locker room and had his coaches make adjustments.
"We pulled through the third and fourth while (Sebring) had their hands on their hips," McHugh said. "Conditioning pays off, and we sure needed it tonight."