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Unbeaten conference newcomer Chasco captures attention

By STEVE LEE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 22, 2002

NEW PORT RICHEY -- In only its second season, Chasco is among the front-runners for the Pasco County Middle School Athletic Conference title.

Coach Nick Zizo labeled his Chargers (3-0) overachievers for going 3-3 in their inaugural season. Now he calls his team "a contender."

Tuesday's 34-22 decision over Bayonet Point allowed Chasco to tie last year's win total. Chasco opened this season with a 24-12 victory over Pasco before beating Seven Springs 32-16.

"I knew at the beginning of the season that we had something special," Zizo said. "I just didn't know exactly what."

Chasco took a 22-0 lead before Bayonet Point (1-1) rallied to pull within 28-22 on two touchdowns by Randy Jones and Sean Gillespie's 45-yard scoring run. But the Patriots couldn't overcome seven turnovers. "We shot ourselves in the foot," Bayonet Point coach Kent Reed said. "It's hard to recover from turnovers."

Troy Cornwell secured two fumbles for Chasco, which received other recoveries from Byronell Arline, Leon Holmes, Robert Tyler, Matt Johnson and Kyle Pitcock. David Williams accounted for most of Chasco's offense. The tailback rushed for 144 yards and scored five touchdowns on four runs and a 49-yard pass from Joe Nix.

"The kid's lightning in a bottle," Zizo said of Williams, who has 461 rushing yards and 11 TDs in three games. "He's the real deal. And here's the better part -- he's only a seventh-grader."

At 2-0, Weightman and Pine View are the county's other unbeaten teams. The Wildcats defeated Stewart 42-8 behind a balanced offense.

Mario Jenkins ran for three touchdowns and Michael Alvin caught three scoring passes from Tony Smith, who picked off the opposing quarterback twice. Greg Jenkins had an interception.

Michael Torro ran for two touchdowns and Jerome Blyden produced a scoring run in Pine View's 19-12 win over defending champion Hudson. Arron Oras of Hudson turned short passes from Matt Raimo into 49- and 60-yard touchdowns.

Centennial's 20-14 victory against River Ridge was the second-year squad's first at home. The Cyclones' lone win last year came on the road.

Barring a tie, at least one of three teams will fall from the unbeaten ranks Tuesday when Pine View plays host to Chasco. The other games (all start at 6:30 p.m.) are: Weightman at Centennial, Gulf at Stewart, Hudson at River Ridge, and Bayonet Point at Pasco.

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