DADE CITY — Cameras beamed Friday's live action into thousands of homes across central Florida.
This was Pasco's chance to show why these Pirates deserve to be in the conversation when it comes to the state title chase.
The Pirates overwhelmed rival Gulf in a complete 38-0 victory at W.F. Edwards Stadium, the second consecutive shutout against Gulf dating to last year's 50-0 win in a Class 3A region final.
Pasco coach Tom McHugh hardly seemed satisfied.
"I would like to be an offensive juggernaut," McHugh said. "If you're satisfied with what you've done, you're not going to get any better. … If you sit on your laurels, you'll get passed."
No, Gulf (3-3, 0-3 3A-7) is not loaded with equal talent to what it offered last year. But the Buccaneers were coming off an impressive fight against Land O'Lakes, leading some to believe Friday's outcome would be closer.
Instead, Pasco (4-1, 3-0) dominated on both sides of the ball. It's almost a complete turnaround from the attitude that led to a 32-7 loss at South Sumter in Game 2.
"We don't care anymore about how we look and how we dress," Pasco junior Jamie Byrd said. "We're going to be like Mike Tyson, knock you out and leave. … We just got our minds right and accomplished our goal."
The Pirates scored beginning with a fumble recovery by Trey Giles returned 15 yards for a 7-0 first-quarter lead.
Pirates quarterback D.J. Clower proved again to be a steady senior leader. Despite facing some relentless pressure, getting sacked twice by Gulf's Austin Jackson, he completed 10-of-18 for 139 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with Wesley Chapel transfer Mitch Wozniak for a 54-yard catch and run for a 14-0 lead. Then he found freshman sensation Janarion Grant, who took in a pass and ran it in for a 30-yard score and a 21-0 lead.
In the second half, Pasco senior kicker Brennan Allen continued his campaign to be the state's top kicker with a 46-yard field goal and a 24-0 lead.
And on Gulf's lone sustained drive, quarterback Madison Burr (7-for-30, 77 yards, two interceptions) was picked off by linebacker Chase Sellers, who returned it 92 yards for a touchdown and a 31-0 lead in the third quarter.
Grant (seven carries, 85 yards) set up Pasco's final score with a 30-yard run. That was followed with a 7-yard pass from Clower to junior Hakeeme Ishmar.
"We're back on track," Clower said. "… You never can be perfect. You can always practice and try to get better."
Gulf receiver David Ramirez was taken away by ambulance with what coach Jay Fulmer said was believed to be a concussion.
The Hurricanes (1-4) picked up their first win with a dominating performance against the Leopards (1-5).
"We had big games out of Mitch Ritter and Geo Perone," Bishop McLaughlin coach Marty Williams said. "We executed our offense well. … It's a real big win for as young as we are. It's always great to win, but when you have a lot of young kids struggling at the point of questioning themselves, to come out victorious is big."
HCA coach David Raley said the Leopards had more than 350 yards of offense.
Izzy Gould, Times staff writer