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Eustis 32, Pasco 16

Eustis capitalizes early on turnovers and goes in for a late touchdown that upsets some.

By CHRIS WAGENHEIM, Times Correspondent
Published November 17, 2007


DADE CITY - For players and fans, the result of Pasco's first playoff game in years was grounds for disappointment, but the last play was grounds for insult.

Leading by 10 with four seconds left, Eustis seemed ready to take a knee. But when the ball was snapped, the Panthers quarterback slipped the lines and took the ball 46 yards for a score that elicited shouts of "no class" from the stands and the field. The final score: 32-16.

"What do you want me to say about that," Pasco coach Tom McHugh said. "I got nothing to say about that, nothing."

The Panthers took an early lead after several Pirates miscues. They intercepted the ball on the Pirates' first offensive play and took it back to the 39-yard line. The Panthers scored on the drive. On the subsequent kickoff, the Pirates fumbled. The Panthers recovered in Pirates territory and then scored again.

"We made mistakes," McHugh said. "If you make mistakes, that is what happens. We gave them 12 points to start the game within the first two minutes. We can't win a playoff game that way."

Despite the early deficit, the Pirates scored 16 unanswered during the next two quarters to take the lead at 16-12.

But the fourth quarter belonged to the Panthers. They went up 18-16, and on the Pirates' next possession, the Panthers picked the ball off and took it 32 yards for a score and held a 26-16 lead with 3:13 left in the game.

"The kids weren't tired," McHugh said. "They got down. Like I said, they are young and they have never been in that position before. That is what you get, and we just need to get mentally tougher."

The Pirates drove to the Panthers 32 but were unable to convert on fourth down.

Then the Panthers took possession, began to kill the clock and upset many with a play that some called classless.

Eustis 32 Pasco 16