Pasco hoping to build off playoff appearance

DADE CITY- Are the Pasco Pirates back on the rise?

After a regular season that included the Pirates reaching the Class 6A postseason and defeating Lecanto 9-8, it looks like Pasco has started to rebound from a couple down years.

Under the guidance of head coach Jason Stokes, who has plenty of experience of leading teams to the playoffs, he sees last season’s postseason berth as a good boost to the football program.

“Absolutely. It definitely created a buzz in the community and excitement for the program as a whole,” Stokes said. “But the biggest goal is to continue to build a culture of mental toughness, accountability, being a leader. X’s and O’s wise, we just want to focus on the fundamental details at each position."

Stokes said one of the team’s biggest strengths heading into the spring is the club’s offensive line, as they paved the way for 1,600 yards on the ground in 2020. EJ Redfield is the team’s top returner from the backfield, as the junior rushed for 398 yards last season. The Pasco head coach said once all athletes return from other sports, the Pirates should have around 45 to 50 players.

Now that spring football is back throughout the state of Florida, Stokes stated he was ecstatic that his team can get back on the field and values the opportunity. In some states throughout the country, spring football will not be taking place, but Florida has high school football primarily back on its regular scheduled events.

“So excited to have a spring this year,” Stokes said. “Kids and coaches were so bummed to lose spring last season. I think we all have a new appreciation for such an opportunity to get in pads and improve. Especially when you realize most states don't participate in spring.”

Spring game: Pasco at Sunlake, May 21st

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