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Bucs finally earn a spot in postseason

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published October 29, 2006


HUDSON - There wasn't a Gatorade bucket in sight to dump over Gulf coach Jay Fulmer's head after he found out he had helped lead his Bucs to the first playoff game in school history.

And good thing too, considering he was sitting in his living room in his favorite recliner.

On his couch was Gulf athletic director Paul Girardi, working the cell phone, impatiently waiting for Zephyrhills to finish off Pasco and make it official: The Bucs are going to Disney World!

Well, close - Orlando Bishop Moore, which will host Gulf in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs Nov. 10.

"We are so excited for the kids," said Fulmer, whose team finished as the Class 3A, District 8 runnerup behind the Bulldogs. "We're excited for every kid who has ever put on the green and white uniform that wasn't able to make it. That means a lot to us. That's 43 years worth of seniors that never had this opportunity."

The Bucs 6-3 wasted little time Friday doing their part to ensure their place in the postseason.

Play No. 1: Anthony Jackson ran for an apparent 62-yard scoring run down the right sideline that was called back because of a penalty.

Play No. 2: Alton Voss threw a 73-yard touchdown to Marcus Neeson that was called back.

Play No. 3: Voss hooked up with Shawn Williamson on a 79-yard, penalty-free TD pass.

The Bucs went on to lead 41-0 at halftime. They were able to play a worry-free second half thanks to perfect first one.

The victory, sped up by a running clock, clinched at least a tie for second. Which is right where a lot of Bucs (not-so)faithful thought the postseason dream would end.

"The people that have been close to this program, well, they kept saying that Pasco would win and there would be a three-way tie, and we'd lose out in the tiebreaker, that something, somehow would go wrong," Fulmer said, adding the negativity was annoying.

"They had this mindset that we were snakebitten. Man, I'm just glad to finally put an end to all this, to bury this."

John C. Cotey can be reached at 727-869-6261 or cotey@sptimes.com.