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Friday night rewind

© St. Petersburg Times
published September 22, 2002


"I'm telling you right now what I told them. The effort was there. But we should have won this football game. We're not after moral victories. We feel that we had eight games left and there are six wins out there, and I still believe that." -- Mitchell coach Scott Schmitz, on Friday's hard-fought 31-17 loss to Ridgewood.


Land O'Lakes versus Pasco. Ridgewood versus Wesley Chapel.

There are four undefeated teams remaining in Pasco County. On Friday, there will be just two.

The Sunshine Athletic Conference race takes a pivotal turn as defending champion Wesley Chapel, which has outscored its opponents 149-7 in three blowout wins, visits Ram Booster Stadium for a conference clash against undefeated Ridgewood, 3-0 for the first time since 1992 and atop the Class 4A, District 6 standings. But the Rams were rolled 54-7 by the Wildcats last season.

"I'll tell you this right now: Next Friday is going to be a good football game," Ridgewood first-year coach Troy Cornwell said after the Rams' win over Mitchell. "It's speed versus strength. We're going to do something that hasn't been done much: We're going to hit them. We're going to come off the ball and we're going to hit them."

Then there's Pasco-Land O'Lakes. The Pirates host the Gators at W.F. Edwards Stadium in another pivotal SAC battle. Pasco will be looking to avenge last season's 27-12 loss, when Land O'Lakes quarterback Drew Weatherford completed 13 of 21 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns to nine receivers.

"We've got to get back to the practice field and get ready for that gunslinger from Land O'Lakes," Pirates coach Ricky Thomas told his troops after defeating Hernando.



"Hey, 40 yard passing is a lot out of the Wing-T," Castelamare said. "People might think I'm Air Castelamare."

Wildcats first-year quarterback Cory Filley was 2-for-3 for 40 yards, hitting Greg Harrison for a 9-yard gain and Patrick Cushman for a 31-yard pickup.


Pasco quarterback Ben Alford finished with 5 rushing yards last season and had managed 11 yards on 14 carries in the first two games of the season. On Friday, he scrambled for 84 yards on nine carries, including a pair of touchdowns.

His best work came on a fake punt in the fourth quarter. He fielded the long snap and sprinted to the left side, stiff-armed Hernando safety Art Starks and finished with a 28-yard gain, running 16 more for a touchdown on the next play.

"It wasn't called, just broken-down plays where I took off," said Alford, who converted two third downs with passes and another two with runs.

Through three games Alford has passed for six touchdowns -- as many as in all of last season -- and run for two others.


Pasco County started the season with three standout quarterbacks: Land O'Lakes' Weatherford, Pasco's Alford and Zephyrhills' James Adamo. But while the other two have enjoyed statistical success leading their teams to 3-0 records, Adamo has struggled along with Zephyrhills.

But the Bulldogs and Adamo recovered from last week's 36-0 SAC loss to Land O'Lakes with a stellar effort in a 41-7 victory over Hudson on Friday night.

Adamo entered the game seventh in passing yardage in the county, completing 11 of 31 passes for 90 yards, one touchdown and one interception. But against the Cobras, the 6-foot-3 senior completed 8 of 10 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

"He stood in there like he was supposed to," Zephyrhills coach Tom Fisher said.

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