DADE CITY - Pasco, which won two games in the regular season, continued its surprising playoff surge, winning its third postseason game 5-0 against Newberry.
"Everybody wrote us off with the record we have," coach Barry Grayling said. "Right now, records don't mean anything. We're out here to play, and we're still in it."
It's Pasco's first playoff win in six years, all the more impressive considering the Pirates entered last week's district tournament with a 2-17-1 record, its only wins coming against first-year Nature Coast Tech. Since then, Pasco has outscored its three postseason opponents 12-0.
"It's hard work and effort. We have all the confidence in the world," said sophomore Joe Rogers, who had not scored before Thursday's game, yet had the first goal 10 minutes into play and the final one, with about five minutes remaining.
Gari Alejandre added two goals in between and Jose Perez had a goal and an assist. Pirates keeper Luis Hernandez needed to make only six saves in earning his third consecutive shutout.
Pasco (5-17-1) earned another home game with Thursday's win, and the Pirates will play host to Melbourne Central Catholic in Tuesday's region semifinal. Melbourne advanced with a 4-1 win over Orlando Lake Highland Prep on Thursday.
Newberry (6-12-1) was outshot 20-8 and was within a goal at halftime. Things fell apart after starting keeper Coulter Knoblauch left with a concussion after a collision in the first half. His replacement, Mike Kaminski, gave up four second-half goals, including Alejandre's just 90 seconds into the second half.
Panthers coach Rod Warner said he warned his team not to take Pasco lightly because of its record but said his players couldn't keep up with the Pirates.
"Their record doesn't mean squat to me," he said. "This is postseason. Tonight, we came out flat ... If I'm not winning the midfield, I'm not winning the game."
Rogers said his teammates will enter Tuesday's game with the same optimism, glad to be overestimated and hoping to continue their unexpected playoff success.
"They all come in not expecting anything," he said. "But we're coming out after them."