Pasco's sophomore quarterback uses his feet to buy time and space to use his arm on the game-winning scoring pass.
DADE CITY - The ultimate escape artist, Pasco sophomore quarterback Tony Smith can beat defenders with his feet as well as his arm.
One drive against Land O'Lakes demonstrated his ability.
With three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Smith engineered a 66-yard drive by eluding rushers and gunning the ball on a dead run to his waiting receivers. The drive was capped by a 40-yard pass to Darrell Davis for a touchdown that gave the Pirates a 22-21 win.
"By having Tony back there, we're going to live with sophomore mistakes," Pasco coach Dale Caparaso said. "But he has great vision on the run. That's what's going to get him a scholarship someday."
The game-turning play came on third-and-20. Smith, who was under heavy pressure all night, ran to his right to avoid the rush. It's something he practices all week as Caparaso has him scramble to either side of the ball and look for receivers, who are told to break off their routes and run in Smith's direction.
On this particular play, Smith was trying to locate Dominique Brown, the Pirates' top playmaker who entered the game as the county leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
But the Gators paid special attention to Brown all night and he was well-covered. So Smith turned to his second option, Davis, who came back to his right, caught the ball and dodged two defenders to score.
"I scrambled to make something happen, but I give all the credit to the receivers," Smith said. "Dominique was covered, so I just looked for the next guy. Davis was there and he did the rest."
The play gave Pasco (3-2) the lead and it was up to the defense to make it stand.
For most of the season, the Pirates Achilles' heel has been stopping big powerful fullbacks and they got a steady dose of another one Friday night in Scott Mays, who led all rushers with 170 yards and scored twice.
On the Gators' final drive, Mays gave his team hope with a 6-yard run for a first down on fourth-and-4. On the next play, sophomore quarterback Joe Weatherford hit Develin Robinson on a 40-yard pass.
But Land O'Lakes (2-3) fumbled on the Pirates' 22-yard line. Pasco linebacker Mike Onyskin recovered to seal the win.
"I'm still trying to figure out what happened on the fumble," Gators coach John Benedetto said. "I'm pretty upset with the way the game went."