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Land O'Lakes flyweights change luck against Lutz

The Chiefs' reign over the Gators is over _ for now.

For the first time in five seasons, Land O'Lakes has defeated perennial powerhouse Lutz in a Pasco Police Athletic League game.

The Land O'Lakes flyweights, eliminated in the playoffs last year by Lutz, beat the Chiefs 25-6 on Saturday.

Lutz, which became the first PPAL community to win three of four Super Bowls last season, won the other divisional matchups: 28-0 in mighty mites, 37-6 in junior varsity and 39-0 in varsity.

"It was a big thing. They're our big rival," said Land O'Lakes coach Fred Nipper, a flyweights assistant when the Gators swept a two-game series against Lutz in 1995.

Saturday's long-awaited victory seemed to have a greater impact on Nipper than on his 7- and 8-year-old players.

"They got excited and everything, but they don't realize what they're doing," Nipper said. "They're making history."

Jeremiah Klatt, who ran for touchdowns in each of Land O'Lakes' first three games, was kept out of the end zone for the first time. But the Gators still found a way to score against Lutz. Running backs Jaime Tello, Dustin White and Eric Deck had touchdown runs along with quarterback Alex Carruba.

"I've got a lot of ammunition back there," Nipper said. "They're all fast and they all like to hit hard."

Center Nick Morrison led the offensive line for Land O'Lakes, said Nipper, adding that outside linebacker Derrick Lee sparked the Gators' defensive effort.

With a 4-0 start, Land O'Lakes is more than halfway to equaling last year's 6-4 regular-season mark. The Gators then beat Zephyrhills in the first round of the playoffs before losing to Lutz in the South Conference championship game. Lutz lost to Dade City in the Super Bowl.

Nipper feels his team can once again challenge for a conference title and Super Bowl berth.

"We're taking one game at a time and hoping to go all the way," the coach said.

Part of the reason for Nipper's lofty expectations is due to his approach to coaching.

"The emphasis is on fun," he said. "I think that comes first; making sure they have fun. They play harder for you. They're easier to coach, they're easier to teach."

BUCS SWEEP: New Port Richey made it a clean sweep of Shady Hills with three shutouts (18-0 in flyweights, 34-0 in mighty mites and 20-0 in JV) and a 30-21 varsity win.

Wide receiver Tim Klegg led the varsity Buccaneers with two touchdowns, scoring on a 40-yard reverse and a 25-yard pass from quarterback Jeff Blanchette.

John Perry and Matt Meister each added 40-yard touchdown runs.

New Port Richey running back Jose Quinn did not score, but rushed for 75 yards.

"He's the one who got us the yardage and the other guys kept putting it in," Bucs coach Gary McCormick said.

McCormick singled out the play of center Chris Whytesell and guard Jordan Stewart, saying, "the offensive line did a great job all day, pass blocking and run blocking."