DADE CITY — Bring on the 9-mile war.
Malik Johns threw a touchdown pass and had two long scoring runs as Pasco (5-3, 3-2) crushed Class 5A-District 6 foe Central on homecoming night to set up a de facto playoff game against Zephyrhills next week.
Johns had 148 of his game-high 224 rushing yards in a first half that saw the Pirates take a 26-6 lead.
Pasco sophomore Nate Craig scored on a 9-yard run and added five catches and a touchdown reception.
Freshman sensation Devante Smith ran for 104 yards and two scores on 20 carries for the Bears (0-9, 0-5), but he got 70 of his yards in the fourth quarter.
Lane Stancil recovered a fumble, recorded an interception, and found the end zone on a 7-yard touchdown catch for the Pirates, who travel to play the archrival Bulldogs (7-1, 4-1) with a playoff berth on the line Friday.
The winner of the Pasco-Zephyrhills matchup will make the playoffs as the 5A-6 runner-up. The Pirates are looking to reach the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.
Central 0 6 0 6 — 12
Pasco 14 12 13 7 — 46
P – Starling 2 run (Johns run)
P – Johns 75 run (pass failed)
P – Stancil 7 pass from Johns (kick failed)
C – Smith 5 run (kick blocked)
P – Craig 9 run (pass failed)
P – Clower 58 run (pass failed)
P – Johns 75 run (Coats kick)
P – Craig 4 pass from Starling (Coats kick)
C – Smith 11 run (kick blocked)