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Pasco's patched-up offensive line better than ever

DADE CITY — Even Tom McHugh has to start writing down names to track all the changes Pasco has been forced to make on its offensive line.

McHugh scribbles them down and checks the accuracy with a player in the background. He tinkers in his mind with some combination, then feels comfortable enough to declare the Pirates have used 10 offensive linemen in significant roles.

Somehow that has helped the Pirates to an 11-1 record entering Friday's game against North Marion (9-3).

Of course, McHugh would prefer more consistency on his line. Pasco entered the season already questioning how good its line could be after the departures of veterans Eric Stroud, Chris Burgos and Josh Jones.

Mylon Brown became the anchor and the senior Division I prospect was expected to have a monster season. The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder played the better part of two games before he broke a bone in his leg. The injury occurred in a 20-all game against Sebring, and McHugh remembers how the Pirates responded.

"Three guys changed positions," McHugh said. "They switched the line and drove the ball down the field in the power I."

Pasco finished off Sebring 34-20, and it was clear then the Pirates were still able to run the ball despite losing one of their best linemen. In fact, the Pirates have improved their average rushing from last season by 48.6 yards per game.

The offensive line gets plenty of credit for opening holes for running backs Jamall Haynes and Jamaal Sampson.

"We had 15 or 20 going into the season that played line," McHugh said. "You have to get them all ready because you never know what's going to happen. When something happens it's a tribute to (assistants Josh) Borders and (Ricky) Giles to get them to fill those spots. They had those 10 guys ready to play multiple positions."

The season began with a line of Jim Peterson, Brown, Trevor Lane, Justin Gude and Jarrod Carmody. Gude went out with a knee injury and Peterson broke his ankle against Wiregrass Ranch.

"There have been times when we had so many linemen hurt we had our safety Timmy Saylor (5-10, 185 pounds) playing center," senior lineman Zach Faza said. "We'll do whatever it takes to get the job done."

Lane, Gude and Carmody remain with Mark Christmas — the team's sack leader with 151/2 — playing both ways and Jamall Carter (5-10, 250) now permanently at center.

There's also plenty of protection of quarterback D.J. Clower, which shows when considering he has thrown 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

"We have a really solid running game, but if we can't block they won't have ways to run," Christmas said. "Pancake (blocks) are nice to have, but I'd rather have a 50-0 win."

.FAST FACTS

Region final

All games at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is $7.

Class 3A: North Marion

at Pasco

Pasco's patched-up offensive line better than ever 12/02/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 2, 2008 5:30pm]
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