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Alford did everything he could

The Pirates quarterback even played defense, but it wasn't enough to stop Jesuit.

By ROD GIPSON
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 17, 2002


TAMPA -- He threw the ball. And threw the ball again and again.

He punted -- often. And he even played defense for the first time this season. But it wouldn't nearly be enough to keep Pasco in the playoffs.

What a game: Jesuit 57, Pasco 14.

But to hear Pasco quarterback Ben Alford say it, his do-it-all performance was no big deal. He was, as with so many other times this season, just doing his job.

Friday night in the opening round of the state playoffs, Alford went 10-of-28 for 186 yards with one touchdown and an interception. He was especially effective in the second half, going 7-of-11 for 160 yards with an 80-yard bomb to Johnny Peyton.

Despite Alford's best efforts, Jesuit steamrolled the Pirates. The Tigers (10-1) put up 35 points in the opening quarter and hardly looked back.

It was another loss in an ongoing trend for the Pirates since they beat Jesuit for the Class 3A state title in 1992. Jesuit has defeated Pasco in six of their last seven meetings since.

"What can you say, they're a tough team," said Alford, who led the Pirates to a 6-5 record this year. "They suited up 80 guys to our 30?"

Peyton had 98 yards receiving and caught Alford's lone touchdown toss while Marcus Allen had 75 yards of total offense. Those numbers were not enough to change the score, but they did catch the attention of Jesuit coach Dominick Ciao.

"We knew coming in that Pasco had some athletes," he said. "Alford is a tough kid and a good passer. And they have some explosive offensive players around him. We just got on them early and that changed the game."

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