Five things we learned Friday night
1. No chinks in the armor: Robinson's 49-21 victory over Pasco showed it has no glaring holes that Tallahassee Godby, its state semifinal foe, can expose. We knew about the Knights' speed, assertiveness up front and opportunistic defense, but the kicking game caught us off guard. Senior Cody Hodgens had at least four touchbacks, nailed all seven point-afters and averaged 44.5 yards on two punts.
2. East Lake needs a running game: With QB Pete DiNovo, WRs Artavis Scott and George Campbell and OL Mason Cole, East Lake had the weapons for a prolific passing attack. But the Eagles rushed the ball just six times in the first half in its 31-21 loss to Orlando Dr. Phillips, and the longest gain was 8 yards on a draw by Weston Fordham. Without the threat of a running game, Orlando Dr. Phillips was able to focus on getting to DiNovo in the second half.
3. Third and a long night: Newsome had trouble moving the ball on first and second down, which put the Wolves in long-yardage situations during its 21-18 loss at Kissimmee Osceola. In the first half the Wolves gained 5 or more yards on first down on only four of 12 attempts.
4. Armwood relied too heavily on its defense: Moving Alvin Bailey to quarterback never really solved the Hawks' problems on offense and, down the stretch, only seemed to worsen them. Bailey replaced Darryl Richardson, a 6-foot-5 senior, in the fourth quarter of a 3-0 loss at Hillsborough and started the rest of the season. The Hawks scored 67 points over their final five games, including two defensive touchdowns. Before that stretch, Armwood had been averaging 36 points a game with Richardson as the starter and Bailey as his top receiver, albeit against weaker competition. But in Friday's 42-10 loss to Gainesville, the Hawks' offensive limitations were exposed by the top-ranked Hurricanes.
5. Expect a quarterback battle at CCC next season: Junior Blake Gomez was yanked, except for a few plays, in the second half of a 42-0 loss to Fort Lauderdale University School in favor of sophomore Jeff Smith. Neither did well, but the Suns brought constant pressure. Smith looked more mobile and had just as strong of an arm.
Notable performances from Friday night
Robinson offensive line: Powered by the veteran quintet of LT Connor Rafferty, LG Bruce Hector, C Chris Duvall, RG Ted Kelly and RT Brooks Lovely, the Knights churned out 289 rushing yards and seven TDs. "They were stronger than I thought," Pasco sacks leader Morgan Flournory said.
East Lake's Artavis Scott: The junior receiver had a team-high nine catches for 128 yards and a touchdown against Orlando Dr. Phillips. He also returned a kickoff 57 yards in the first half.
Newsome's Will Worth: In his final high school game, the two-way senior amassed 204 total yards, including 109 on the ground, in the Wolves' 21-18 loss at Kissimmee Osceola.
Pasco's Nate Craig-Myers: The freshman broke up a pass on defense and was one of the Pirates' lone bright spots on offense. He totaled 102 receiving yards and both of his team's offensive touchdowns.
Compiled by staff writers Joel Anderson, Matt Baker, Joey Knight, Rodney Page and Bob Putnam.
By the numbers
42 Rushing yards for East Lake (counting yards lost in sacks) on 16 carries in its 31-21 loss to Orlando Dr. Phillips.
72 Career victories for Robinson's Mike DePue, who became the program's winningest coach Friday night. In his ninth season, DePue is 72-42. Holland "Luke" Aplin, the first coach in Knights history (1959-67), previously held the mark.
6.5/42 Average points allowed through 12 games by Clearwater Central Catholic, and points given up to University School on Friday.
8 Years since Pasco had given up as many points (49) or lost by as many (28) as it did Friday night. It was the Pirates' worst loss since a 49-13 first-round exit to Jefferson in the 2004 playoffs.
"The Newsome Wolves still are beating Osceola. … The Armwood Hawks still are losing to Gainesville. … and the Plant Panthers still are not playing tonight. Their season is over." — Scott Burkett, Robinson High public address announcer, giving halftime local score updates
"You would like to be as good as that football team, but I don't know that I'll ever have that many athletes." — John Davis, CCC coach, after being shut out by Fort Lauderdale University School
"The future's okay." — Tom McHugh, Pasco coach, on losing three Division-I recruits but returning at least three other prospects
"A lot of it came down to situational football. We didn't have great field position in the second half. We were in a lot of third and longs. We dropped some interceptions. We left a lot of plays out there." — Bob Hudson, East Lake coach
"Anyone who was going to beat us, they should've done it this year. Next year we'll be back here and we're going to win." — Byron Cowart, Armwood sophomore LB, after the Hawks' 42-10 loss to Gainesville
Did you know?
• Armwood suffered its worst playoff loss in school history against top-ranked Gainesville, a 32-point rout that was over early in the third quarter. The only one that comes close is a 41-15 loss at Belle Glades Central in 2000.
• Pasco's Janarion Grant and David Emmanuel combined for more than 130 TDs in their high school careers. But for the second time in the past three years, neither scored in a game in which both were healthy. Land O'Lakes shut them out as sophomores.
5A state semifinal: Tallahassee Godby (12-1) at Robinson (12-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday
This is, quite simply, Robinson's most significant game in 35 years. Godby, coached by former FSU assistant Ronnie Cottrell, has an offense averaging more than 430 yards. Junior dual-threat QB J.T. Bradwell has more than 2,500 total yards and is among five Cougars with at least 300 rushing yards. "But guess what, we're back here (at Jack Peters Field) again," Robinson coach Mike DePue said.