Last year the uniforms of Pasco High football players probably should have had "welcome" sewn on them. Just like doormats, opponents walked all over the Pirates for 280 points in 10 games.
But that was 1989, when Pasco went 2-8 and lost to Crystal River 55-0.
This is 1990 and the Pirates are a completely different team. Nobody knows that better than Crystal River, which was Pasco's latest victim.
In a hard-hitting game, Pasco built a 17-14 halftime lead. That score stood Thursday night, as both teams' defenses stiffened in the second half at Pasco High.
"We are for real," said Pasco's defensive end Taras Ross, who set the tone for the game with a vicious sack of Crystal River quarterback Keith Davis in the first quarter. "Now we can't get big heads."
After a season opening 19-7 loss to Zephyrhills, Pasco has allowed only 30 points in its last six games _ all victories. The win streak has propelled Pasco to the top of the Class 3A, District 4 race at 6-1 overall and in the district.
"Everybody has to come at us now," said Pasco's Mike Penix, who rushed 21 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. "Everybody has put us down because of last year. Nobody has given us respect."
That's not the case anymore. Just ask Crystal River's players, who fell to 3-4.
A rare connection: Pasco coach Perry Brown likes to keep the ball on the ground and let the other teams make the mistakes, much to the chagrin of his air-happy players. But one of the Pasco's key plays was a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dee Reed to speedy tailback James Thompson.
After the two previous running plays netted two yards, Reed hit Thompson on third-down-and-goal.
"It was our "'Easy 2,' " Reed said. "We use it for extra points plays. I just waited for (Thompson) to get open and I got it to him."
The touchdown regained the lead for Pasco, 17-14, with 1:12 left in the half.
It was only Reed's second completion of the game at that point. His first pass was intercepted.
"I guess I made up for my bad," Reed said.
Still Perfect: Pasco junior Travis Loyed drilled a 42-yard field goal to give Pasco a 10-7 lead in the second quarter.
Loyed has made all four of his field goal attempts this season, including three of 40 yards or more.