DADE CITY ó Land OíLakes jumped out to an early 21-0 lead on Pasco on Friday night and dominated from there, cruising to a 49-18 victory.
The Gators (5-2) got another strong night from senior Kyle Leivas, who ran for 137 yards and three touchdowns. After struggling last week, junior quarterback Ethan Forrester did well through the air, throwing for 226 yards and two touchdowns.
"Ethan was firing on all cylinders tonight, going through his reads, his timing was there, he had a great week of practice, preparation watching film. As he takes care of the little things, heíll get better and better," coach Chad Walker said.
Pasco did not have many answers for Land OíLakes on defense, as the Gators scored on seven of eight possessions, including their last six. Forrester got many of his yards on long touchdowns of 66 and 60 yards to senior receivers Jacob Neary and Nate Howard. Leivas broke several tackles and scored from 43 yards out in the third quarter, and he is now just short of his second straight 1,000-yard season.
"Itís nice (to have the passing and running game both working well) because I donít have to get beat up all night," Leivas said.
The Pirates, despite losing their sixth straight game after a 2-0 start, saw some sparks offensively with sophomore quarterback Devin Jernigan (11-of-14, 127 yards), who connected with junior receiver Darrion Robinson (three catches, 136 yards) on deep throws of 55 and 39 in the first half to set up two touchdowns. In the third quarter, Pasco made a quarterback change to senior Jacquez Mobley, who accounted for more than 100 yards rushing and receiving. He passed for 71 yards and a 29-yard touchdown to sophomore Edward Matos on the final play of the game.
"Heís a senior leader, and thatís what weíve grown to expect from him," Pasco coach Tom McHugh said of Mobley.
If Land OíLakes beats Mitchell next week and Pasco loses to Springstead, the Gators, Mustangs and Eagles would be in a three-way tie for the district lead with one loss in district play. The playoff point system, which emphasizes strength of schedule and marquee wins, would decided the district champ.
"Like I tell these guys, itís one game at a time, one goal at a time. Next week is the matchup that we set up at the beginning of the year," Walker said.