FOOTBALL: Clearwater blows by Hudson in region quarterfinal

TORNADOES 55 COBRAS 14

CLEARWATER — They say some teams are built different and in a battle between Pasco County and Pinellas County, the latter proved to have a big upper-hand. And in more ways than one.

Regional No. 1 Clearwater showed once again they may have a team that reaches the school’s first-ever state semifinal, as quarterback Aidan MacLean threw for 263 yards and four touchdowns in leading the Tornadoes to a dominating 55-14 win over No. 8 Hudson. The Tornadoes will now host Nature Coast Tech, a 24-21 winner over Chamberlain, in next Friday’s Class 5A Region 3 semifinal. 

“That was the game plan. We’ve done everything as a team to get better,” Clearwater head coach Thor Jozwiak said. “Our team slogan is 'little things, big rings.' That’s what we believe in. Doing the little things the right way.” 

Early on it seemed like the Tornadoes might be in for a competitive game, as MacLean and the offense went three-and-out. On the very first Hudson (6-5) possession, Cobras quarterback Hunter Young (177 yards passing) threw a pass backwards that was run in for a touchdown. Not too long later, MacLean connected on a 76-yard scoring pass.

MacLean’s go-to guy was wide receiver Censere Lee, who caught four passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Clearwater (10-1) led 21-0 after one quarter and were in the driver’s seat the rest of the way. Some intrigue in the game centered around Young needing 294 yards to become the all-time single-season Pasco County passing leader in yards. Young threw for 177 and fell just short, at 2,556.

On the other side of things, Clearwater now sits in a good position in the region with No. 2 Zephyrhills’ 12-10 home loss to No. 7 Gibbs. The Tornadoes will face Nature Coast Tech in the second round in a matchup of contrasting styles. Clearwater likes to sling the ball around while NCT likes to keep it on the ground. 

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at andyvillamarzo@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.