Round 17: Athletic Pasco Pirates invade Booster Stadium

Senior fullback Anthony Alexis. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

FOOTBALL

Pirates (2-3) open 6A-5 action in Spring Hill

By TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

Dade City-Pasco Pirates

Pasco County’s lone football champion, Pasco High in 1992, rolls into Booster Stadium for the 17th lifetime meeting between both schools beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Spring Hill.

The Dade City Pirates (2-3 overall) open its Class 6A, District 5 schedule against F,W. Springstead (4-0 overall).

In a series that began in 1981, the Pasco Pirates dominated play early winning each of the initial eight meetings.

But since 1997, SHS has slowly clawed back capturing seven of the next eight clashes – including the last six in a row.

Last fall, Springstead spanked Pasco, 48-8.

The off-season was busy at W.F. Edwards Stadium as 12th-year skipper Tom McHugh, the school’s athletic director, resigned.

Jason Stokes was hired as McHugh’s replacement.

The Pirates opened 2019 blasting the bottom ranked team in all of Class 5A, Land O’ Lakes, 35-14.

In week 2, Pasco succumbed to Sunlake, 15-12, before being mauled by Auburndale, 50-0.

Pasco bounced back to trip up Wesley Chapel-Cypress Creek, 28=7, before being throttled last week at Dixie Hollins, 20-0.

Junior quarterback Devin Jernigan leads the Pirates under center.

The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Jernigan has clicked on 3-of-7 passes for 34 yards and zero interceptions.

Senior Desmin Green, a 6-foot, 150-pound receiver, leads the Pirates with one reception for 22 yards.

Rushing the ball, the Pirates are averaging 7.7 yards per clip.

Junior Malcolm Gibbs leads the East Pasco County crew with 123 rushing yards in in nine carries – that’s almost 14 yards per snap.

His longest gain is 88 yards and he possesses the Pirates’ lone rushing score.

Ivory Lopey, the 6-foot, 172-pound senior, adds six totes for 50 yards.

Jernigan has rushed for 44 yards on six carries while junior Amir Burgess has chipped in 43 yards on six carries.

Defensively, Ja’hari Mention, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior defensive end has piled up 24 tackles.

Only Burgess has more tackles (45).

Five-foot-10, 165-pound junior linebacker Gabriel Barnes has added 37 tackles while 5-foot-3, Savion Spaights has 30 tackles.

Springstead head coach Mike Garofano  Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Seventh-year SHS skipper Mike Garofano expects Pasco to attempt to spread the field with its athletes.

Garofano praised his beefy offensive line for setting the tone against Crystal River.

Bill Vonada Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

The Eagles, who have shutout three of its first four foes, need one more whitewash to duplicate the school record set by the 2008 Bill Vonada team and the 1996 Pat McCoy Eagles’ team – with four bagels.

Physically, the Eagles hope to be in better shape than last week.

In last week’s 21-0 win over CRHS, three starters sat including sophomore wide out Adonis Houston, sophomore cornerback David Burgos (broken ankle) and senior middle linebacker Adrian Cabrera.

The 6-foot,200-pound Cabrera, who started every game for three seasons is mending shoulder separation suffered against Nature Coast.

Nemo Pierre

According to Garofano, Cabrera‘s replacement, Nemo Pierre, performed well, recording a game-high 10 tackles for the Eagles.

“He never hurt us. He always knew where he needed to be and played above our expectations,” explained Garofano.

“I thought the key of the game was our offensive line. They’ve done the job the entire season. In the second half last week, we had some procedure penalties that stalled some drives.

“For the second straight game, our special teams played a huge role,” added Garofano. “Special teams turned that game around with those two fumble recoveries. Isaiah (Daniel) got the first one and Max (O’Rourke) recovered the second. Those two drives helped us build momentum, Football is all about creating momentum.”

Despite the win, there was little fanfare from the host sidelines.

Garofano believed its was a somber setting.

“That’s the second time we’ve won 21-0 and it’s felt like a loss,” he said. “Our expectations for this season are really high. The guys weren‘t happy even though we won.”

“…Our guys know, we set the bar high for a reason. We can‘t afford to take plays off. We preach that all the time. Offensively, we‘ll be better balanced as the season progresses.

“Defensively, guys like Nemo superceded our expectations,” noted Garofano. “This week Pasco will be a challenge, especially with all their athletes. We’ve got to restrict their splash plays.

“We’ve had a good week of practice. Coach (Justin) Wentworth has been preaching 9-5-90 all season That’s getting nine guys to within yards of the ball, 90 percent of the time. That brings more guys into the fire. We don’t just rely on Adrian (Cabrera) to make the tackle.”

According to Garofano, Cabrera is a game-time decision on whether he’ll play or not. He did not practice this week.

On the district opener, “This is a money week,” shared Garofano. “This is when district games begin to really matter. We’ve played with a lot of effort and heart so far.

“We’d like to continue to control the clock and game’s tempo. We also need to keep making plays on special teams. That’s been a big part of our success the past couple of games. We’ve love to keep it rolling.”

Top 10: F.W. Springstead Eagles’

Football All-Time Best Defenses

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Bill Browning
 

RK

 

PA

 

PPG

 

YR

 

DIST

 

COACH

 

W-L

1.

94

8.55

1989

Browning, Bill

8-3

1.

94

9.40

2014

DRU

Garofano, Mike

6-4

3.

101

9.18

2012

DC

Vonada, Bill

9-2

4.

106

9.64

1993

DC

Browning, Bill

9-2

5.

112

11.2

2008

Vonada, Bill

7-3

6.

116

11.6

2001

Vonada, Bill

6-4

7.

133

12.1

1996

DC

McCoy, Pat

9-2

8.

181

13.9

2013

DC

Garofano, Mike

11-2

9.

139

15.4

1985

Levija, Bob

4-5

10.

156

15.6

1982

Levija, Bob

5-5

By the Numbers:

Springstead Eagles

vs. Pasco Pirates

(Pirates lead series 9-7-0)

Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Dade City-Pasco Pirates
 

YR

 

SITE

 

RESULT

1981

Home

L 0-21

1982

Away

L 6-13

1985

Away

L 9-26

1986

Home

L 6-38

1987

Home

L 3-34

1988

Home

L 13-14

1995

Away

L 21-26

1996

Home

L 29-39

 

1997

 

Away

 

W 28-17

1998

Home

L 21-41

 

2005

 

Home

 

W 34-7

 

2006

 

Away

 

W 9-7

 

2015

 

Away

 

W 44-43 (OT)

 

2016

 

Homecoming

 

W 48-18

 

2017

 

Away

 

W 48-21

 

2018

 

Homecoming

 

W 48-8

 

TOTALS (16)

 

367-373

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