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Goal-line stand forces three-way tie for championship

By STEVE LEE

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000


HUDSON -- Decisions, decisions. Go for two points to win or kick an extra point for a tie?

Hudson coach Tony Qualtiere eschewed the kick and went for it all.

That choice backfired when Weightman's defense stuffed a running play and beat Hudson 20-19 Tuesday.

It also foiled the Cougars' bid for a perfect season and forced a three-way tie between Hudson, Weightman and Pasco for the Pasco County Middle School Athletic Conference championship. All three teams finished 5-1.

"We had been picking up 5, 6 yards on that play," Qualtiere said, adding that the failed rushing attempt off right tackle by tailback Mike Roach "just came down to we make a play or they make a play.

"We wanted to get the win. We felt we could get it in there."

Roach, who rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns, was stopped short of the goal line by Kevin Forstad and Khalil Madani, who was playing in his first game after being sidelined all season by an ankle injury.

"If it wasn't for Khalil on that defensive line, we definitely wouldn't have had a chance to win," Weightman coach Johnnie Clower said.

Weightman receiver Joe Berenguer caught two scoring passes, one from quarterback Anthony Rawson, who scored on a quarterback sneak, and another from halfback Nigel Bryant.

Drew Woodall caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Shannon Eva to account for Hudson's other score.

As for Pasco, it earned a share of the conference title for the first time since 1992 by beating Bayonet Point 30-16.

Michael Onyskin ran for two touchdowns, Kyle Hobbs scored on a quarterback sneak and Dominic Brown returned a fumble for a touchdown. That was one of four fumble recoveries for the Pirates with Keith Perry, Marcus Brewer and Clay Pippen accounting for the others.

Pasco coach Wendell Maples would have preferred a playoff series, a head-to-head matchup or at least a points comparison to determine an undisputed champion. But conference athletic director Joe Wajerski said only two teams finishing unbeaten who did not meet in the regular season would warrant a playoff.

In 17 seasons of middle school football in Pasco County, there never has been a playoff, Wajerski noted.

Hudson's share of the conference crown is its second. The Cougars tied Weightman in 1997.

The Wildcats have won five conference titles and shared three others in their 10 seasons.

"We're pretty excited about that," said Clower, a former Weightman assistant who is in his first year as the Wildcats' head coach.

Seven Springs and Pine View finished a game behind the leaders with matching 4-2 records. That gave Seven Springs its first winning season in the school's five-year existence.

"This is a very good team," Jaguars coach Nick Zizo said. "We have size and speed, and mostly eighth-graders. Most of the kids played last season."

In Seven Springs' 34-16 win over Stewart, Spencer Brown returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. He also rushed for 210 yards and three scores. Nick Dreger chipped in with a 70-yard touchdown run and kicker Mario Formoso converted 4 of 5 PATs.

Final standings

Team W LPF PA

Hudson 5 1191 27

Pasco 5 189 56

Weightman 5 1168 58

Pine View 4 258 89

Seven Springs 4 2108 52

Gulf 3 358 50

River Ridge 1 540 126

Bayonet Point 0 634 173

Stewart 0 636 151

Oct. 17 Results

River Ridge 14, Gulf 6

Weightman 20, Hudson 19

Seven Springs 34, Stewart 16

Pasco 30, Bayonet Point 16

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