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Five players from Pasco get scholarships

Six weeks after national signing day, Pasco High will have a scholarship frenzy of its own Tuesday, with five Pirates expected to sign with programs across the country.

Quarterback Ben Alford and defensive Kirk Moats have orally committed to attend Dodge City Community College, and running back Devon Hicks could be joining them next week. Hicks also is considering another Kansas school, Division II Emporia State University.

Marcus Allen, a standout at receiver and defensive back, will sign with two-year Bakersfield College in California, and linebacker Bryan Hall will play for Division III Greensboro College in North Carolina.

Alford earned third-team all-state honors after passing for a school-record 27 touchdowns and 1,926 yards, and Moats finished with 18 sacks, one shy of the county record. The Pirates duo will be following in the footsteps of former Pasco linebacker Garion "Red" Pope, who redshirted his first year at Dodge City in the fall. Pope, 20, was killed in a car accident Feb. 19 in Dade City, but there remains a Pasco connection at the Kansas program in Andy Siegal, a former Pasco assistant coach who now is the Conquistadors' offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator.

Dodge City sent an assistant coach to Pasco on Wednesday with the hopes of getting Hicks, whose senior year was cut short by injuries and suspensions, to join Alford and Moats.

Allen, who caught eight touchdowns, will go to Bakersfield but ultimately could end up at Division I New Mexico State, which also has interest in Alford down the road. Hall, who transferred from Hernando before his senior season, finished with 83 total tackles despite being sidelined several games with a sprained knee.

Pasco's five college signees marked the largest group in any of former Pasco coach Ricky Thomas' seven seasons with the Pirates. The previous high was three, when Norman Graham, Eric Reed and Ron Croson signed with colleges after the 1998 season.

"I'm very happy for these kids and their families," said Thomas, who said he isn't actively pursuing a new coaching position but is keeping his ears open. "I'm tickled to see them earn the opportunity to continue their education and continue playing football."

Pasco's signings continue a busy post-signing day period for the east side of the county. Seven Wesley Chapel football players _ Tim Davis, Greg Harrison, Chauncey Roberts, Chris Roberts, Kenny "Junior" Roberts, Maurice Standifer and Tyrone Tomlin _ signed with Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in Virginia, Minn., last month.