DADE CITY - Freshman sensation Devante Smith ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, but Central came up short against Class 5A, District 6 foe Pasco, 46-12.
Although the Pirates (5-3 overall, 3-2 5A-6) are having a down year, by their standards, they cruised past the Bears (0-9 overall, 0-5 5A-6) thanks to the play of senior Malik Johns.
Johns, who entered Friday's matchup as Pasco County's leader with 14 touchdowns, ran for 224 yards on 13 carries. He did much of his damage in the first half, racking up 148 yards on 11 carries before the intermission.
Pasco's first six offensive plays were runs by Johns, netting 56 yards, before a quarterback sneak from two yards out by Grant Starling, and a two-point conversion run by Johns, gave the Pirates an 8-0 edge.
On the second possession of the night for Central, Smith fumbled and Lane Stancil of Pasco recovered at the 6-yard line of the Pirates, taking potential points off of the board for the Bears.
Four plays later, an explosive 75-yard touchdown run by Johns gave the Pirates a 14-0 lead.
On the next possession for the Pirates, facing fourth-and-goal from the 7-yard line, Pasco lined up in an unorthodox field goal formation that included Johns as the holder. Faking the field goal out of this formation, Johns found Stancil on a 7-yard scoring strike to increase the advantage to 20-0.
Stancil also picked off a pass for the Pirates, who will travel to face archrival Zephyrhills next week in a contest that will determine the 5A-6 runner- up to South Sumter.
Smith would redeem himself after the fumble, finding the end zone on a 5-yard blast with 4:22 left in the first half. He even set up the touchdown by registering the first interception of his high school career and returning it to the Pasco 26-yard line.
The extra point was blocked, but the Bears trimmed the deficit to 20-6.
Just before halftime, a shanked punt by Central gave Pasco the ball at the Bears 9-yard line. Sophomore Nate Craig scored on the very next play for the Pirates, a 9-yard run that gave Pasco its 26-6 halftime lead.
Long touchdown runs of 58 yards by Jaquan Clower and 75 yards by Johns gave the Pirates a 39-6 lead after three quarters before Craig caught a touchdown pass from Starling to enable a running clock with 7:01 left in the contest.
Smith was held to 34 yards on 13 carries through the first three quarters before finding some running room in garbage time. Smith had 70 yards on seven carries after the running clock started, including an 11-yard scoring scamper that produced the final points of the contest.
Pasco 46, Central 12
Qtr Scoring 1 2 3 4
CEN 0 6 0 6 -- 12
PAS 14 12 13 7 -- 46
PAS - Starling 2 run (Johns run)
PAS - Johns 75 run (pass failed)
PAS - Stancil 7 pass from Johns (kick failed)
CEN - Smith 5 run (kick blocked)
PAS - Craig 9 run (pass failed)
PAS - Clower 58 run (pass failed)
PAS - Johns 75 run (Coats kick)
PAS - Craig 4 pass from Starling (Coats kick)
CEN - Smith 11 run (kick blocked)
First Downs 7 12
Atts./Rushing Yds. 32-109 32-367
Comps./Atts/Int. 6-11-1 9-11-1
Passing Yds. 22 62
Total Offense 43-131 43-429
Return Yds. 2-63 2-19
Punts/Avg. 8-17.8 1-23
Fumbles/Lost 3-2 2-1
Penalties 7-45 10-108