By Steve Lee
DADE CITY — The Land O’ Lakes-Pasco game had all the makings of an epic, but the battle between playoff contenders turned out to be a bit one-sided.
Host Pasco, a two-time district champion and state semifinalist last season, bested Land O’ Lakes, which is riding a county-record 12-year playoff streak.
The Pirates’ 28-16 win thinned out a three-way logjam in Class 3A, District 7. Pasco, 6-1 overall, is tied with Mitchell at 5-0 in the district. Meanwhile, Land O’ Lakes fell to 6-1 overall, 4-1 in 3A-7.With only two playoff spots up for grabs, this race could go down to the final week.
In a battle of the county’s top quarterbacks, Stevie Weatherford passed for two touchdowns for Land O’ Lakes while Pasco’s D.J. Clower had three touchdowns, including two by running.
But Weatherford, who had scoring passes to Will Irwin and Kent Taylor, fumbled and was interepted for two turnovers.
Clower tossed a 41-yard score to Mitch Wozniak after Weatherford’s fumble that was recovered by Allen Wells. Clower then followed Tyler Peak’s fumble, recovered by Jamie Byrd, with a 21-yard touchdown run. Clifford Phillips added a scoring run for the Pirates.
MITCHELL 16, SUNLAKE 3: The Mustangs remained the lone unbeaten team in the county at 8-0 after a win over resurgent Sunlake. The win was Mitchell’s ninth in a row, a streak that began with last year’s 24-7 defeat of Sunlake.
The Seahawks, off the their best start with three victories, could only muster a field goal in the third quarter with Jordan Landry converting a 20-yarder.
Although standout tailback Ricky Trinidad was held in check, Mitchell got two touchdown runs from Freddie Jones and a 39-yard field goal by Codi Folsom.
ZEPHYRHILLS 14, WESLEY CHAPEL7: The Bulldogs finally got a win and made it two straight against the host Wildcats, but needed overtime for their first of the season.
Jamal Roberts, an offseason transfer from Wesley Chapel, had the decisive touchdown against his former team. The Wildcats came up short in their overtime possession.
Anthony Viernes completed a 36-yard touchdown pass to Adrian Sanchez for a 7-0 lead by Zephyrhills in the first quarter, but Wesley Chapel tied it on Keegan Tanner’s quarterback keeper in the fourth.
HUDSON 22, RIDGEWOOD 21: Hudson remained in the playoff hunt by converting a daring call by coach Mark Nash. Following a late touchdown and trailing by a point, the Cobras went for the conversion run and made it.
Ridgewood scored just before Hudson’s final touchdown, capping a 12-play, 81-yard drive with Nick Martino’s pass to Ralph Dawkins.
Hudson quarterback Zack Wynn passed for 60 yards on the last touchdown drive of the game, finishing it off with a pass to Mike Powers. Wynn then ran the ball into the end zone for a narrow victory.
GULF 48, ANCLOTE 6: The Bucs halted a four-game skid against first-year Anclote. Madison Burr, Alphonso Blanch and Will Burbridge each scored twice for Gulf.
TARPON SPRINGS 24, WIREGRASS RANCH 7: The Bulls lost their second straight game, scoring early on James Tringali’s pass to Assad Nevel.
SHORECREST 20, BISHOP McLAUGHLIN 6: The lone touchdown for the Hurricanes came on Giovanni Perone’s 20-yard run.