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Hernando romps to playoff berth

Shad Reese best described Hernando High's 55-20 victory over Hudson:

"It sure helped everybody's stats," the quarterback said with a laugh.

It was a laugher for Hernando Friday night. Reese rushed for 106 yards and passed for 107, and running back Eric Riggins added 138 yards and three touchdowns as Hernando clinched a state playoff berth.

The Leopards are 4-0 in Class 4A, District 7 (6-1 overall) and play arch-rival Pasco (4-0) Nov. 4 on the road for the 4A-7 title. The top two teams in each district earn playoff berths _ Hernando and Pasco have clinched.

"It feels great to be back in the playoffs," said Hernando coach Mike Imhoff. "We played a great game. We could have played down to their level but we played up to our level instead. And when we play a team better than us, hopefully we can take it up to their level."

It would be hard to imagine a team playing better offense than Hernando on Friday. The Leopards struck fast and furious and Hudson (0-4, 1-6) was clearly outclassed.

In fact, Riggins returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, but a clipping penalty negated the score. So on the first play from scrimmage at the 24-yard line, Reese went around left end and easily outran the Hudson defense for a 76-yard touchdown.

It took Hernando two plays to score on its next possession when Reese lobbed a pass to Marvis Norwood and he scampered 64 yards for the touchdown.

A Hernando fumble set up Hudson's first touchdown, a 3-yard run by Brian Sullivan. An 18-yard pass from Brandon Hall to Rick Ladimir on fourth-and-8 from the Hernando 20 preserved the drive.

Hernando answered with three consecutive touchdowns _ a 29-yard run by Riggins, a 47-yard interception return by Fabian Burnett, and a 5-yard run by Matt Deason for a 35-7 second-quarter lead.