BUSHNELL - Pasco showed both its promise and peril in Friday night's 31-20 preseason Kickoff Classic loss to South Sumter at Raider Field.
The good news is that quarterback Kyle Hobbs shook off a tough first half - his fumble was returned for a touchdown to put the Raiders up 14-6 in the second quarter - to throw two second-half touchdown passes. Hobbs connected with Deran Burns for both, a 40-yard scoring strike and a 60-yarder.
Tony Smith, the Pirates' other quarterback, showed some promise too, but as a deft runner and clutch receiver. But Pasco also looked shaky otherwise, too. The first half saw coach Dale Caparaso chase some reclining players off the bench and line coach Terry Voyles pull a lineman off the field for arguing about a busted play.
"We looked okay in the second half," Caparaso said. "We looked a little better than we did in the first half. Our kids showed a lot of character, a lot of character. We also saw what we have to do without our top running backs."
Mike Onyskin was held out and John Daniels was at his grandmother's funeral in Chicago. Without them, the Pirates struggled to run the ball.
PALMETTO 36, ZEPHYRHILLS 6: The Bulldogs faced a tough learning disability in Friday night's preseason loss. Namely, the Tigers overwhelming talent and speed.
Which is why Zephyrhills coach Tom Fisher isn't sure how much his inexperienced team learned by playing a loaded Palmetto squad at Bulldog Stadium.
"You're not going to see a better team around here than that," Fisher sad. "Hopefully our kids realize that they faced a team that was better than them and hopefully we can learn from that and realize our potential.
"What that might be yet, we don't know yet."
The Tigers scored 29 unanswered points until the Bulldogs' Marvin Johnson scored on a 13-yard run. It was the first varsity game for many of Fisher's players.
"We're not young, we're inexperienced," he said. "I've got seniors out there that this is their first Friday night they've played in their lives. It's a whole new experience, too. Thankfully nobody got hurt. Hopefully they can accept this and move on."
As for Zephyrhills' quarterback battle between Joseph Burgess and Kyle Sizemore, Fisher said there was little progress on that front. Sizemore looked good in the second half, but Palmetto didn't give Burgess a whole lot of snaps to take in the first half.
"Kyle looked good but the game was already over," Fisher said. "Joseph did some good things too, but they're both inexperienced."