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 defense does job against the pass

DADE CITY — Tallahassee Godby came to W.F. Edwards Stadium boasting a potent offense with six Division I prospects and a pair of U.S. Army All-Americans.

On paper, the Cougars were the Fun 'N' Gun, Run and Shoot and any other dazzling pass-happy offense one could imagine. In person, they were tall and muscular, how one might imagine a state champion-caliber team.

For the better part of four quarters Friday, the Pirates' defense gave its offense a chance in a 28-14 loss in their first Class 3A state semifinal in 16 years.

"Pasco's a very good football team," Godby coach Shelton Crews said. "(Pasco coach Tom) McHugh did a great job of preparation. We were fortunate to win. It's a tough place to play with everyone cheering against you."

The Cougars (12-2) came in averaging 439.1 yards of offense and had thrown for more than 5,500 yards. The Pirates walked away holding Godby to 329 yards and just 138 passing while forcing a pair of turnovers and a botched field goal.

The Pirates (12-2) had a simple game plan: force the Cougars to run.

"We knew they would try to take the pass away from us," Godby quarterback A.J. Graham said. "We relied on the run and it paid off. They did a nice job."

The Pirates limited Florida State commitment Willie Downs, and the primary receiver made his biggest impact lining up in the Wildcat formation.

That allowed Cougars running back Lavorie Johnson to flourish for 149 rushing yards and an 8-yard touchdown to tie it at 7 in the second quarter.

"I guess they were going to double team me," Downs said. "All the focus was on me and the running backs came through with the big plays. That's how the game went."

Pasco came out with fiery hits and a potent defense. Godby fumbled, punted and failed to convert a fourth-and-3 to begin the game. The Cougars reverted to some screen passes to piece together a pair long drives and took a 14-7 lead after Downs' 1-yard touchdown run as the second quarter ended.

Pasco again forced a punt, a fumble and a missed Godby field goal in the third quarter. But Godby put the game out of reach with two touchdowns in three plays in the fourth for a 28-7 lead.

"We tried to stop them from passing," McHugh said. "We wanted them to run, and that's what he did. Sometimes you get a little blood in your eyes and if you live by the blitz you die by the blitz.

"The kids did what they had to do. They did what I told them to do."

Izzy Gould can be reached at or (727) 580-5315.

Pasco defense does job against the pass 12/12/08 [Last modified: Friday, December 12, 2008 11:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. DeSean Jackson's 'Ferrari engine' brings him to first Bucs camp


    TAMPA — When the Bucs signed Pro Bowl WR DeSean Jackson, in the offseason, QB Jameis Winston said his new target was "a Bentley with a Ferrari engine," a nod to Jackson's 5-foot-10 frame but elite speed.

     Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson sits for an interview while on camera with NFL Films.   HBO's NFL Films production of "Hard Knocks" documented a day in the life of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson with his family at their home in Tampa on Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
  2. What you should know about new Rays slugger Lucas Duda


    The MLB trade deadline is a few days away, but the Rays aren't procrastinating. Earlier today, they swung a deal for the Mets' Lucas Duda, sending minor league right-hander Drew Smith

    Slugger Lucas Duda will add some (more) power to the Rays lineup.
  3. Rays add a bat, too, acquiring Lucas Duda from Mets


    The Rays made another big move today, acquiring 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.

    Duda, 31, is a lefty slugger who will take over as the Rays primary DH against right-handers, with Corey Dickerson now playing most of the time in the outfield.

    To get Duda, the Rays gave up minor-league RHP Drew Smith, …

    The Rays acquired 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.
  4. Bucs do their best to stiff-arm the expectations


    TAMPA — If you want to see a team giving the Heisman trophy stiff-arm to expectations, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    As always, the key to the Bucs success will be Jameis Winston. He still is only 23, but a charismatic leader that this team and this town believes deeply in. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. A trip down memory lane of Bucs' preseason expectations


    With HBO's Hard Knocks in town and the Bucs opening training camp Friday with their highest expectations in a decade, here's a look back at Tampa Bay's preseason expectations since their last playoff appearance in 2007 — and the results.


    Jameis Winston and running back Peyton Barber celebrate a touchdown last season against the 49ers. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]