Nine-Mile War goes to the Bulldogs

Zephyrhills quarterback Brendyn Colella threw for over 200 yards and accounted for three touchdowns and running back Rodney Smith ran for 169 yards and another score to lead Zephyrhills to a 35-18 victory over Pasco in the Nine-Mile War.

The backyard rivalry was closer than most anticipated as the Pirates (0-7) didn’t let the game get out of reach in the first half and trailed just 21-12 at the half.

“When I was in high school they were our rival and you don’t want to lose to Pasco. Some of these kids don’t understand the rivalry between Pasco and Zephyrhills. Anytime you have a huge crowd cheering us on. I hear them. To have that community support when we score those touchdowns, you can feel it.”

The Bulldogs (6-2) got a seven-yard TD run from Smith to open the scoring late in the first half to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead, Pasco came back in early in the second quarter to close the gap to 7-6.

Roe Miller to the ensuing kickoff 87 yards through the middle of the Pirates kickoff team to extend the lead at 14-6. Pasco jumped right back into it with long drive to make the score 14-12. Pickett scored his first TD from Colella on a nine-yard TD pass.

After a scoreless third quarter Pickett took a five yard pass and turned into a 70-yeard touchdown to extend the lead to 28-12. Colella added an 11-yard touchdown scramble to put the game away midway through the fourth.

History was made on the PAT when Chloe Price booted the PAT to put the Bulldogs up 35-12. Price joins Annaleese Thomas as females athletes to score points in a varsity football game. Thomas scored on a two-point conversion against Pasco in 2021.

“We wanted to get her to score,” Carroll said. “We knew she could do it.”

The Pirates added a late fourth quarter TD, but it was too little too late.

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