By Tammy Sue Struble and Kristopher Struble
Special to The Laker
Sunlake High headed into the final district game 7-1 and poised to wreak havoc on the standings. A win for the Seahawks Nov. 5 would have twisted Pasco, Land O’ Lakes and Sunlake into a three-way tie and forced a district playoff.
Pasco had other things on its mind: preserving a perfect season and claiming a district title without a pesky and unpredictable playoff.
The Pirates rolled 49-10 to claim their fourth consecutive district title. Sunlake saw its playoff dreams dashed by an aggressive Pasco defense that kept the offense out of the end zone all night.
Sunlake’s only touchdown came on the opening kickoff, when Jamal Jones ran 85 yards for a touchdown. The Pirates offense sputtered in their first two possessions due to two dropped passes and an offensive holding penalty; however, their defense stepped up and followed their game plan perfectly.
Their game plan, according to Pirates coach Tom McHugh was twofold. “One, stop Jackson and two, run our offense.”
The Pasco Pirates needed to contain Sunlake senior quarterback Jacob Jackson, who came into the game averaging 248 yards of offense per game and more than100 on the ground, in check. On their first two drives they did just that – forcing two quick punts. Late in the first quarter Pasco running back David Emmanuel needed only three attempts to bust a 41-yard touchdown and the game was right back to even 7-7.
The Seahawks reared back and started to move the ball; they accumulated three first downs before the Pirates stopped them and converted a 40-yard field goal to take a 10-7 lead.
Then, Pasco found the offense that propelled them to a 9-0 record for the season.
After a Pasco interception and a few more defensive stops, the Pirates manufactured another quick scoring drive capped off by a 30-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Guy to Janarion Grant to take a 14-10 lead into halftime.
The Pirates carried their momentum from the first half into the second and wasted no time driving 74 yards scoring equally balanced with runs and passes. A Jackson interception then led Pasco to another quick score and the Seahawks found themselves in a 28-10 hole.
The Pirates scored on their next two possessions to take a 42-10 lead into the fourth quarter, then tacked on one more touchdown on a 64-yard pass from wide receiver Trey Dudley-Giles to Grant.
Land O’ Lakes claimed the runner-up spot in the district by defeating Mitchell High the same night.
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