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Sunday, Oct 22, 2017
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Pasco wins district title

NEW PORT RICHEY - Encircled by his players Friday night, Pasco coach Tom McHugh lifted his right hand and had three fingers extended. Everyone in the huddle knew what it meant, and they mimicked the gesture. The Pirates, by virtue of their 17-3 victory against Class 3A-District 7 foe Mitchell, won their third consecutive district title. "It's very special that a lot of those guys, they're seniors and I've had them for three years," McHugh said. "It's very special to be able to say that they won a district championship three years in a row."
It's also special considering the Pirates lost 22 players to graduation, including numerous starters. Pasco (7-1, 6-0) had one less weapon to worry about when Mitchell coach Brian Wachtel choose to keep leading rusher Ricky Trinidad out because of a back injury. That forced a shift in offensive philosophy for the Mustangs (8-1, 5-1), but they got after Pasco on defense. On the Pirates' first drive, Mitchell had two sacks. The defensive showcase featured a total of 13 punts and seven sacks. Five of those sacks were by the Pirates. On Pasco's 10 offensive possessions, the Pirates produced just 10 points - the second-lowest output of the season. Its final points came on a 68-yard interception return by Mike Clower. Pasco was held to 67 rushing yards, and of their 24 carries, six were for negative yardage. "We went with what we thought our strengths were," Wachtel said. "Our defense, I'm so proud of our defense. I thought all our kids fought hard, but our defense really, really, really played well tonight." The Pirates used up nearly six minutes on their initial drive of the game, coming away with a 45-yard Brennan Allen field goal with 5:56 left in the first quarter. Mitchell tied the game two possessions later with a 35-yard Codi Folsom field goal. Pasco's offense began to click at the end of the second quarter when Mitchell missed a 37-yard field goal attempt, giving the Pirates the ball back with 1:27 remaining in the first half. Pasco QB D.J. Clower completed five of six passes on that drive, including a 40-yard reception to Hakeeme Ishmar. Ishmar's big gain set up his 24-yard scoring catch three plays later. Clower finished the night 12 of 22 for 135 yards and a score. Ishmar led all receivers with three catches for 70 yards. The man McHugh replaced three seasons ago, current Spoto coach Dale Caparaso, was in the stands watching. If Spoto finishes as the runner up in 3A-8, it could travel to Dade City for the opening round of the playoffs. Pasco3707-17Mitchell0300-3 P-FG Allen 45 M-FG Folsom 35 P-Ishmar 24 pass from Clower (Allen kick) P-M. Clower 68 interception return (Allen kick)
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