Pirates no longer down, out

Pasco scores twice late in the fourth to beat Wesley Chapel 34-28, its second straight big win after an 0-5 start.

Published October 7, 2006

DADE CITY - Dorian Tookes cradled all of Pasco's anguish in his arm. A clear path of grass stood between him and victory.

No one was going to stop him.

In what arguably could be labeled one of the best comebacks of the season, Pasco defeated rival Wesley Chapel 34-28 at W.F. Edwards Stadium on Friday.

The real comeback story, however, is Pasco's season. An 0-5 start is a mere footnote after two big wins against the Wildcats and Class 3A, District 8 foe Hudson. Next it's Gulf in what some would classify the game of the season. A win likely would earn Pasco a playoff berth.

"We came together as a team, finally," Pasco junior McClain Bryant said. "It took six weeks. We're rolling now and it ain't stopping."

Wesley Chapel had Pasco dazed and spinning after Greg Jenkins intercepted Pirates quarterback Justin Smothers, returning the ball 76 yards for a touchdown. That gave Wesley Chapel a 28-14 lead late in the fourth quarter.

Pasco's coaches had a brief meeting and came up with a new strategy: No more passing. The Pirates took the next drive for a nine-play, 74-yard drive capped by Tookes' 7-yard run to cut it to 28-21.

On the third play of Wesley Chapel's next series, Jenkins, who was 10-of-14 for 117 yards for two touchdowns, was picked off by linebacker Dominique Wilson. That set up a six-play, 24-yard drive capped by Bryant's 1-yard dive to tie it.

"They hurt us on offense," Wesley Chapel coach John Castelamare said. "We made some big mistakes. You can't throw interceptions against good football teams. They deserved to win."

After the Pirates forced a three and out, Tookes took the Pirates' next play from scrimmage 78 yards for his second touchdown and the winner. He finished with 17 carries for 168 yards. Bryant had 12 carries for 83 yards. Smothers was 7-of-15 for 158 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Players dumped a bucket of ice water on coach Dale Caparaso at the 50.

"As exciting as this finish was with a win, every game could have been the same way - soaking wet, celebrating like crazy," he said.

"God has not been shining down on Dade City. He is now."